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Credit Union vs. Bank? Which Should You Choose?

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Commentary by Victoria Gillespie

Accessibility can be an area where banks and credit unions often differ. Since credit unions are often smaller in asset size than banks and have fewer locations, many consumers may be concerned that they will not have complete access to their credit union accounts or convenient banking options such as fee-free ATMs for cash withdrawals when needed. However, today, with technological capabilities this is no longer an issue. For example, at REALTORS ® Federal Credit Union, a division of Northwest Federal Credit Union, our members have access to over 33,000 surcharge –free ATMs, 5,000 Shared Branch Service Centers nationwide and six full service branches in Northern, Va. Shared Branching is a network of credit unions that allows members to make deposits, withdrawals and loan payments at convenient locations near their homes or offices. Our credit union also offers online banking and remote capture or scanned deposits to its members so that they can conduct their banking electronically, any time of the day or night, at their convenience.

Ultimately, what makes credit unions unique is that we are chartered with serving a particular field of membership—we are not open to the general public. All REALTORS® and their immediate family members are eligible for lifetime membership with REALTORS® Federal Credit Union.

Our Credit Union was developed by the NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS® as a true benefit for REALTORS® with our defining proposition of tailoring products and service to meet the unique needs of our REALTOR® members.

For more information, visit realtorsfcu.org.

Victoria Gillespie is the national director of Business Development, REALTORS® Federal Credit Union, a division of Northwest Federal Credit Union.

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