Monthly survey: Credit unions beat banks for
If you're looking to borrow or want to start saving,
make sure you check the rates offered by your credit union. Often,
you can find the best rates on loans, credit cards and savings products
by heading for a credit union, according to the latest Bankrate.com
survey comparing credit unions, banks and thrifts.
Each month, Bankrate.com compares the national average
rates on five standard financial products: new-car loans, one-year
CDs, money market accounts, credit cards and 30-year, fixed-rate
mortgages. This month, on four of five (mortgages are the exception),
credit unions come out ahead for the consumer.
These averages come from Bankrate's monthly survey
of the top 50 credit unions, banks and thrifts in the top U.S. markets.
thrifts and credit unions all lowered their rates on car loans a
bit this month, with credit unions offering the best deal -- an
average rate of 8.23 percent. That's on a $16,000, 48-month loan
with 10 percent down. You'll save $228.48 over the life of the loan
by getting the loan at a credit union instead of a bank. And the
credit union loan will save you $195.84 over the same loan from
all deposit products, CD rates have taken a hit, again, this month.
Still, the 3.98 percent average yield on a one-year CD at a credit
union will beat the yield at a bank by better than 1 percent. Thrifts
are more generous with their one-year CD yields than banks are,
but the credit union average is still a better deal -- a full half-percent
rates on money market accounts are also down this month across the
board. But the credit union average of 2.50 percent is a hefty 1.15
percent better than the average for banks, and it's more than a
half-percent better than what thrifts are offering.
institutions don't want to pay you very much for your money market
or CD account, but they're also charging you less interest this
month on your credit card debt. Credit unions are averaging 12.61
percent for a variable-rate credit card. Banks are charging 13.91
percent and, as is usually the case with credit cards, thrifts have
the highest rate -- 14.50 percent.
is the one category thrifts generally win. Thrifts, banks and credit
unions all dropped their rates 16 to 19 basis points this month
(a basis point is one-hundredth of a percent). Bankrate calculates
its loan comparisons on a $125,000 loan with 20 percent down. Under
those conditions, a 30-year fixed mortgage will average 6.91 percent
at a thrift. That means you'll save $3,016.80 over the life of the
loan if you get your mortgage at a thrift vs. a bank. A thrift will
save you $1,807.20 over a credit union.
Bankrate researchers Amira Ali, Delia Cardona,
Eva Garcia, Brooks Kelly, Janie Maldonado and Tammy Richmond contributed
to this report.
-- Posted: Sept. 24, 2001