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Property buyers today may think of a credit union as an alternative form of lending and ultimately meant for people who don't fit the stereotypical borrower. But this assumption may a little unfair once you learn the facts. Credit unions present several unique opportunities that you simply won't find anywhere else. We'll give you both the good and bad, so you can make a better decision.
A Non-Profit Oasis
As a non-profit institution, credit unions tend to have better rates than traditional banks. Plus, they're a little more personal than a regular bank in that they're investing in a single community as opposed to the whole country. So while you may not get the level of sophistication you would from a well-known bank, you will get the kind of personalized service that's hard to find today.
Before you finance a property, you first need to qualify for your credit union. This essentially means proving you're connected to the credit union somehow. Often, it's based on where you live, but you may be able to join based on anything from your employer to your church to your family members. Before you dismiss your eligibility, talk to a credit union officer to see if there's a connection.
Once you qualify for the institution, you'll need to become an official member. To do this, credit unions typically have its customers purchase shares in the organization. (These fees are generally affordable and they're the key to securing your membership.
The practical advantages of a credit union mortgage are the flexible terms and requirements as well as the reasonable fees and rates. Plus, the credit union staff tend to take into account the relationship you've built with them. So while a national bank will encourage you to apply for a mortgage through the company, the fees may not change significantly from those of a stranger — regardless of your track record with the bank.
Why Skip the Credit Union
There are a few reasons not to finance with a credit union. For one, a credit union isn't going to have as many products as a bank would, which could inevitably cause you to miss out on a worthwhile opportunity. It's also likely to be a more traditional style of banking, meaning you may not have options for online banking. And as with a regular bank, a credit union may change leadership, which can, in turn, change the terms of your mortgage for the worse.
Regardless of where you finance, it's probably worth discussing your options with a credit union. As you shop around, you'll get a better sense of which products and terms are right for you.