Open that student bank account – you’ll be back to your credit union anyway
Ah that first week of college. The feeling of independence as you take your first steps on campus ground as a bona fide college student. As you navigate your way through the first week with the joy and enthusiasm of one not yet malnourished from a student diet, your future finances are probably far from your mind. After all, what finances do you really have to think about as a student? It’s not like you have much left over from that student budget (tips on how to make that stretch here).
That’s why most of you will open a student bank account around now without a second thought. And that’s fine. We don’t mind. After all they’ll be there on campus luring you in with freebies and whatnot. You’re a student, it’s against the rules to refuse free stuff - so take their freebies. You’re smart enough to know it’s just in exchange for the future profits they’ll make from you anyway – so go ahead. We know you’ll be back to us - just as soon as you’re fed up with their ploys to make money from you (with student overdrafts and credit cards).
When you really want someone who takes a long-term view of your finances, is committed to financial empowerment and lends money in an ethical way, you’ll start thinking about your local credit union. When you want someone who doesn't exist to make profit but is committed to helping you achieve your life goals, your bank is the last place you'll want to be. You’ll want your credit re-union (see what we did there) faster than you can say ‘I don’t know what the banks were thinking with that tracker mortgage debacle’. Hey, neither do we.
So, here are just some of the reasons you’ll be having your credit re-union soon!
Human Financial Services
A credit union is a human financial services organisation. What does this actually mean in practice you might ask. Let’s look at credit union loans as an example. A credit union loan officer will always give you a fair hearing if you apply for a loan. They are open to all of the myriad reasons behind loan applications, from the weird to the wonderful and everything in between.
A credit union loan officer will do everything they can to approve your loan, taking into careful consideration your individual circumstances and ability to repay. If they cannot approve the full loan amount, they will look at approving a lower amount that might suit your financial circumstances better. Their objective is always to help you achieve your goals and dreams – and is never to make a profit at your expense. (All credit unions are not-for-profit). You may want to join a credit union already after reading this – so here’s all you need to know about opening a credit union account.
Ethical, democratic financial services
Once you join a credit union, you become a credit union member. Each member owns the credit union. Credit unions are democratic in nature, which means that every member has vote at AGM time. Credit unions will assess their members’ needs and wants and tailor their services specifically to their members’ needs. As every credit union is independent, they are free to develop services and products based on their members’ needs and not on what a head office might dictate. In practice, this means that you are deciding what services the credit union offers you!
Credit unions are ethical and don’t exist to make profits. They will never exploit you if you’re in need of financial assistance. If you apply for a loan, a credit union will ensure that you have the ability to comfortably repay the loan. They will never suggest that you take on a loan that might result in unnecessary debt or financial stress for you. Check out this page for more on how a credit union works.
Fair and straightforward
The world of financial services is a complex one with mind-numbing terms & conditions and jargon that will have you grinding your teeth in frustration. Well you’ll be seeing less of your dentist when you join your local credit union where T&Cs are straightforward. There are never any fees or administration charges hidden in complex language – because there are never any hidden fees or admin charges for anything. And if there is something you’re unsure of, credit union staff are always happy to take the time to explain terms and conditions to you.
Flexibility with loans
With a credit union loan, you have the flexibility to either repay the loan ahead of time, or restructure your repayments if you find you can no longer afford them. There are never any financial penalties or hidden costs for doing this. Credit union loan officers understand that financial circumstances can change, and will work with you to adapt repayments if needs be. This flexibility very rarely, if at all, exists with other financial institutions. Check out our blog if you want more details on the unique benefits of a credit union – or more information on discounted student loans.
Global, record-breaking, customer experience awards
Irish credit unions have won the Customer Experience (CX) Award for a record-breaking four years in a row. No other organisation in the world has managed this feat. In fact, financial services usually rank in the lowest places in the CX table. Just to compare, Irish credit unions came first in the CX rankings in 2018 – while the closest ranking Irish bank trailed hugely behind, in 79th place!!
Of course, if you don’t want to wait until you’ve graduated from college to find out why a credit union is so great and you need financial assistance right now, just check out this blog.
(And if you just want free stuff, it’s probably worth checking with your local credit union what they might have to offer!).