Posts Tagged 'credit unions'

NCUA illustrates credit card difference

The National Credit Union Administration’s new site,, is a great place to learn more about credit unions – what defines them, how they’re different from other financial institutions (like banks, or savings and loans), how they’re better, etc.

One of the most illustrative points is their section on credit cards. The NCUA shows what a difference a few percentage points on your credit card rate can make on your payments and total payoff amount.

For instance, the time it takes to pay off a credit card with a $5,000 balance at 18% APR is more than 39 years. At 10.9% APR, the time to payoff is only 19 years.

This comes right along with our new credit card comparison booklet, where you’ll notice that a lot of bank and store credit card rates have been hiked to 18% or more. The store cards are especially high – usually in the 20% range.

The NCUA site also mentions credit card pitfalls to avoid, like balance transfer fees (we don’t have those) and annual fees (we don’t have those either).

Taking our message to Congress

First, thanks to all our members for supporting our Interchange petition drive. We had a lot of members agree with our message in the branches and here on our site, and we appreciate all the support.

Second, we’re taking a broader message to Congress:

[Credit unions are] gathering to advocate for credit union members– to protect them from rising costs, to allow the financial institutions they own build more capital, to help them help the economy recover and grow – and to ensure that their credit unions are around to serve them for a long, long time.

The Hill reports that CUNA’s Governmental Affairs Conference will be a gathering of credit union pros who will take the credit union philosophy – not-for-profit tax status, lower fees, sensible government regulation – to our representatives in Congress.

It should be a heated, active event, especially considering all that’s going on in the financial industry.

Credit unions explained on CBS Early Show

Watch CBS News Videos Online

CBS’s financial contributor Vera Gibbons recently spoke with CBS’s Early Show about the benefits of joining a credit union (click the above link to see the video). One of the benefits we know first-hand? Lending:

Lending portfolios at commercial banks are down, and credit union loan portfolios are up. This means that if you are a credit worthy customer, and your credit history is in good standing, you stand a BETTER chance of getting a personal loan at a credit union than you do at a commercial bank. Why is that? Credit unions are not as tangled up in the sub-prime mess as the banks were, so they’re in a better position to loan.

If you’re looking for a last-minute gift to give this holiday season, why not think about an Eagle Earners account for a child? Starting your kid out at a credit union is a great way to get them started on financial literacy.

We need your help on Yahoo!


Do a search on Yahoo! (or even Google) for “jackson, mi credit unions” and, surprisingly, American 1 is pretty hard to find. Even though we’re the largest credit union in the area, we get little search engine respect.

Take the Yahoo! search results. The top result for American 1 comes up as our drive-thru, not our Home Office (that ranks #20). Even our popular Parnall and Argyle Branches are low on the search engine totem pole (Battle Creek is #20, while Hillsdale is #3).

Part of those results come from the goofy way the phone book lists American 1. Look us up in the Yellow Pages, and you’ll find a bunch of random numbers and addresses that don’t correspond to our branches. That’s because our ATMs run on phone lines, and so the phone books take those phone numbers and list them as branches. Weird, huh? Yahoo! must use the same information the phone books do.

So here’s where you come in. Head to the search results above and look for your favorite American 1 branch. If you have a Yahoo! account, go ahead and write a little review of the branch you visit the most. Our hope is that the branches will rise to the top, ahead of those silly ATM listings, so that we’ll be easier to find for people who are looking for a local credit union.

If you don’t have a Yahoo! account, it’s easy to get one. Then you can use Yahoo! mail or a Flickr account (we have one, and we love it), or any number of the many services Yahoo! provides.

Google is another story. A lot of their search results come from what’s listed on your webpage – so we’re looking to post our address more prominently on the homepage, just to see if it helps.

Best way to bank? Don’t take our word for it.

We like to point out that, even in times of financial stress, credit unions like American 1 are a steady way to do your banking. Financially, we’re in great shape, and we continue to do all the great things we’ve always done – like this weekend’s Women’s Expo.

But don’t take our word for it.

Productivity blog Lifehacker helps sing the praises of credit unions, offering us not-for-profit financial institutions as a barrier to the weirdness out there.

“With major instability in banking and unprecedented failures and buy-outs, it may feel like the only safe place to put your money is under your pillow,” Lifehacker editor Gina Trapani writes. “While even through buy-outs like Washington Mutual’s, your money remains FDIC-insured, this is a good time to consider an alternative to for-profit private banks—like credit unions.”

Thanks Gina! And be sure to check out the comments section of the Lifehacker article for great comments from credit union members.

Credit unions vs. banks

Wondering what’s the difference between a bank and a credit union? What is a credit union, anyway?

Taleris Credit Union in Ohio does a great job of comparing the two financial institutions, with a handy table that sets credit union and bank features against each other, side-by-side.

Need a video comparison? Check out this famous YouTube clip, or enjoy the one above.

American 1 Federal Credit Union