In the 2011 credit union checking study, Claes Bell reported that many credit unions still offer free checking with no strings attached. Plus, the interest rates on checking accounts at credit unions are slightly higher than interest-bearing accounts at banks.
While checking accounts are vital, they aren't the only area where credit unions can beat banks: CD rates are also higher at credit unions.
Back in December I spoke with Mike Schenk, vice president of economics and statistics at the Credit Union National Association, about the outlook for CD rates in 2011. Though rates will stay at depressed levels through at least most of the year, he said credit union members can get a bit of an edge on CD rates.
"There are 92 million credit union members out there, and the reason there are so many of them is that when you are looking for relatively high rates you can find them at credit unions. We're not-for-profit cooperatives, so our rates tend to be slightly higher than what you see even today at commercial banks," Schenk says.
To learn more about credit unions, read "What to look for in credit union checking."
Use Bankrate's rate tables to find the highest CD rates available anywhere in the country.
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