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Are Credit Unions Better Than Banks for the Community?

Are credit unions better than banks for the community? Yes! Credit unions are trusted financial institutions and caring, local community partners committed to helping and making lives better.

Credit unions, unlike banks, sincerely care about people over profit, purpose over profit and passion over profit. That’s why they’re better for the community. If you’ve heard that your local credit union gives back to its members and does good for your community, it’s absolutely true. Credit unions believe in sharing success!

What does sharing success look like at a credit union?

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Same Products and Services as Banks (But Better)

Partnering with a credit union doesn’t mean you sacrifice access to a suite of products for your financial needs. Credit union offerings typically include checking and savings accounts, auto, home and personal loans, credit cards, business banking solutions — as well as financial planning and wealth management services and more. Products often come with perks like zero-to-little fees, lower loan rates, higher savings rates, and credit cards with better rates and fees.

As far as service goes, credit unions carry a reputation for A+-rated customer service that’s friendly, trustworthy, sincere, knowledgeable and personal.

Credit Unions Serve Their Members and Communities Better

Credit unions are not-for-profit cooperatives owned and controlled by their local members. Banks, on the other hand, are for-profit institutions owned and controlled by their shareholders. So, unlike banks, credit unions have their members’ best interests at heart and keep their money in the community. They reinvest their earnings back into the organization to offer free checking, better rates, dividends and other big benefits to their members. They also use funds to partner with organizations and give back locally. Banks serve their customers, but credit unions serve their members and community in ways that matter more.

Members and the Community Share in the Success

Because credit unions work for their members, they share their success locally and creatively with members and the community. At Desert Financial, sharing success is at the core of our mission. We share success with sweepstakes, cashback bonuses, Random Acts of Kindness, community donations, volunteering, scholarships, grants and more. Sharing success, in other words, is all about giving back — and since members own a part of the credit union, they can feel good knowing their membership is doing good and benefitting others.

Supporting and Advocating for Small Businesses

Small businesses are the heart of a community. As local organizations and lenders, credit unions care about supporting small businesses and the local economy with financial solutions tailored to specific business needs. Desert Financial offers customizable checking accounts, loans, credit cards, treasury management solutions and insurance services for small businesses. To show support during COVID-19, Desert Financial created the Small Business Emergency Loan and Gilbert Business Recovery Loan Programs and participates in the Paycheck Protection Program.

Financial Education for Financial Wellness

Credit unions want the best for their members and community, and that includes helping people improve their financial literacy. Part of being a trusted financial partner is not only about meeting financial needs with a home equity line of credit or auto refinance loan, for example. It’s about educating people on how to manage money well, make smart decisions, adopt financial planning skills and live with financial stability. Credit unions do this by providing resources like articles, videos, modules, webinars and workshops in the community.

Awarding Academic Scholarships

Credit unions provide financial education, but they often support education within the community too by reinvesting profit into scholarships. Education is particularly important to Desert Financial — 15 teachers founded the credit union to originally serve educators. To honor this legacy, Desert Financial created Community Service and Adult Learners Scholarship Programs. To share success with its employees, the credit union also launched the InvestED program which provides tuition coverage for online academic programs at Arizona State University.

As a source of generosity and support for the community, credit unions pay it forward to make lives better and create bright futures. Credit unions give back to their employees too! They create jobs in the community and provide an amazing place to work with a passion-to-help culture and special benefits. If you’re currently a customer of a bank, upgrade from customer to member and make the switch to a partner that stands by you and makes an impact where you call home.

Credit unions do more than you think! Find out six surprising ways we can help.


The material presented here is for educational purposes only and is not intended to be used as financial, investment, or legal advice.