LCUL's Cochran: 'Old' CU benefits attract young, new members
March 30, 2015
HARAHAN, La. (3/31/15)--A new generation of Louisiana residents, inspired by "old school" services and pricing and the cooperative business model, are starting to discover the credit union difference, Louisiana Credit Union League President/CEO Anne Cochran wrote in a opinion editorial that appeared in the Lafourche Parish Daily Comet (March 27).
Millennials--consumers born between the early 1980s and early 2000s--are choosing credit unions because of the benefits and personal services offered," Cochran wrote. "Millennials are drawn to 'old' credit union features that now seem 'new': free checking, no minimum deposit accounts, fewer fees, better interest rates (in some cases nearly two percentage points lower than competitors) and personal service."
This growth among the younger generation was spurred by the positive response credit unions received coming out of the financial crisis, Cochran said.
"Many Americans saw credit unions as a safe haven in the financial services sector when credit unions continued to lend to consumers, homebuyers and small businesses while other lenders were unable or unwilling to do so," she wrote.
She cited statistics that say an overwhelming majority of credit unions offer free checking in comparison with banks.
As cooperatives, credit unions return their earnings, minus operating expenses, to their members through higher interest rates on deposits and lower loan rates.
This not-for-profit philosophy that reinvests earnings with a credit union's members generates an economic benefit of $8 billion to $10 billion each year for the U.S. economy, according to CUNA.
"These monies make it easier for families to buy a new home through lower interest rates or for a small business owner to expand and buy new equipment," Cochran wrote.
Louisiana residents are getting the message. State credit unions saw an 8% increase in loans in 2014.