MADISON, Wis. (4/8/14)--A March 24 article in the Army Times described how credit unions that specialize in the U.S. military go beyond the call of duty in serving their memberships.
Because credit unions are owned by members, they return their profits back to their memberships in the form of more favorable interest rates, the article noted.
"For example, a five-year car loan for $15,000 at the national credit union average of 2.61% would cost a total of $1,016.32 in interest; the same loan at the banks' average rate of 3.82% would cost $1,501.86 in interest, according to calculations using Bankrate.com," the article said. "You'd pay $485.54 less with the average credit union rate."
Virtually all military members are eligible to join some credit union. The Defense Credit Union Council comprises 207 credit unions operating on 212 military installations, council President Roland "Arty" Arteaga, a retired Army colonel, told the Army Times.
When the military was hit with budget cutbacks under sequestration last year, credit unions stepped up with programs to help problems for those affected, ranging from delayed payments to low-interest loans, Arteaga said.
Defense credit unions, like most credit unions, understand the needs of their members, because they were created by their members, noted Brad Smith, vice president for strategic development of $685 million-asset Pacific Marine CU, Oceanside, Calif.
In another example of a defense credit union reaching out to serve the needs of its members, $310 million-asset Belvoir FCU, Woodbridge, Va., offered a class on establishing a budget and preparing for a deployment (Belvior Eagle March 26).
Changing bases or preparing for a deployment can be stressful, said Shannon Tackett, Belvoir FCU financial coach. "We want them to have the tools to make the process smoother," she added.