Credit Unions Poised to Give Big Banks a Run for Their Money

The public perception of Wall Street and big banks has never been bleaker. Leonardo DiCaprio’s portrayal of a New York stockbroker as an indulgent, morally compromised, drug-addicted felon in The Wolf of Wall Street is practically a bank personified to many people. To some degree, big banks earned their reputation by increasing fees and providing poor customer service while reporting record profits. For example, in 2011, several banks abandoned plans to charge customers a $5 monthly fee for the privilege of using a debit card after consumer backlash. Banking, like death and taxes, can hardly be avoided, as online merchants and other businesses just won’t accept cash stashed in a mattress, or gold bullion buried in the back yard. Fortunately, credit unions have grown from single-location, behind-the-times hometown banks, to a viable alternative for a mobile, technologically advanced society, without losing their focus on customer service.

Credit unions are not-for-profit financial organizations owned by members. Members elect a Board of Directors through a one-share-one-vote system independent of the amount invested. Membership can be open to employees of particular businesses or a class of businesses, workers in a particular trade, or even anyone living in a particular geographic region. Due to the democratic election process, as well as the membership requirement, it is very likely you will know someone on the board of directors. Accordingly, the focus is on providing a high level of service to their customers without the distraction of having to deliver a profit to investors.

As a result of this customer-centric approach, customers report an unparalleled level of satisfaction with the services they receive. In 2010, the Bank and Credit Union Satisfaction Survey from Prime Performance revealed that a whopping 88% of customers were satisfied with their service, and only 7% reported that they were likely to switch banks over the next year. In contrast, customers of the nation’s largest banks reported that their satisfaction level was below the national average of 77%, and 17-19% of those customers were likely to switch in the next 12 months. High levels of satisfaction were also reported among customers born after 1980. According to a telephone survey conducted by TeleSight, satisfaction among Generation Y customers rose 5% between 2010 and 2012.

Popularity among the younger, technology-driven customers, as well as overall customer satisfaction, is primed to grow, thanks to new products and services. Customers who belong to a union that is part of the Credit Union Service Network’s shared branching program can now access their accounts and perform a number of basic teller transactions at participating banks. Perks such as free checking, free ATM withdrawals, rewards programs, and even private student loan options have been adopted.These options make credit unions head-to-head competitors with traditional banks, which may be forced to alter their business models to remain competitive.

Interested in finding a credit union? Slidell, LA has just what you need! Look no further than New Orleans Firemen’s Federal Credit Union to provide quality financial products and services at a fair and competitive price. Find out what we can offer you at .