Recently, Nancy Schimmel, a songwriter in Berkeley, Calif., joined a local credit union after closing her account with a large national bank.
"My motivation for changing was political," says Schimmel, citing concerns about the role large banks played in the 2008 financial crisis. "With the credit union, the money stays in my hometown and gets loaned to people like me."
Bill Stavros, vice president of marketing at Proponent Federal Credit Union in Nutley, N.J., agrees that the operating structure of a credit union can be especially appealing to politically conscious consumers.
"Credit unions are owned by our members and do not answer to stockholders whose main concern is profit," says Stavros. "This gives credit unions the ability and responsibility to make prudent decisions based on what is in the best interests of their members."
But good politics can be synonymous with good financial decisions. According to Stavros, a credit union's not-for-profit status means that profits are reinvested back into the business to benefit members in the form of cheaper services, lower interest rates on loans and credit cards, and higher rates on savings accounts.