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Leveraging Your Credit Union Membership for Financial Success

October 26, 2023

Customer service representative shaking hands and smiling with a couple sitting in front of them.

Whether you’ve had an account with a credit union for years, or you’re new to the credit union world, you may not be utilizing all of the tools available to you. At Education First Federal Credit Union, we believe that financial success is within reach for everyone.

One powerful way to achieve this success is by leveraging your credit union membership. Credit unions are not-for-profit financial cooperatives that are committed to helping their members achieve their financial goals. In this blog post, we'll break down the ways you can use your credit union membership to reach financial success.

Personalized Financial Guidance

One of the key advantages of being a credit union member is access to personalized financial guidance. When you bank with your local credit union you can be sure that you will have access to local staff in person. Unlike larger banks, credit unions are known for their personal touch. We take the time to understand your unique financial situation and provide tailored advice to help you make the best financial decisions.

Whether you're looking to save for your child's education, buy a home, or plan for retirement, your credit union's financial experts are there to help. They can assist you in creating a financial plan, setting achievable goals, and staying on track to meet them. This level of personalized guidance is often unavailable at larger, more impersonal financial institutions. Whether you need assistance from our member services team or guidance from our wealth management advisors, mortgage department, or business lending team, there’s always a real person ready to serve you at one of our seven conveniently located branches across Southeast Texas. And if you’re battling a busy schedule, we’ve got the solution - just make an appointment when it’s convenient for you. 

Competitive Interest Rates and Low Fees

Credit unions are committed to providing their members with the best financial products and services. This means offering competitive interest rates on loans and savings accounts. When you're a credit union member, you can take advantage of lower interest rates on loans like auto loans, mortgages, and credit cards, ultimately saving you money over the life of your loans. Our lending professionals work closely with members to structure loan terms that fit your budget and financial goals. We also offer financial calculators to help you determine and compare your options and free content downloads that answer the most popular questions about home loans, debt consolidation, auto purchases, investing, and other popular topics.

Moreover, credit unions are known for their minimal fees. Unlike big banks, we're not driven by the need to generate profits for shareholders, so our focus is on serving our members' best interests. Since we're member-owned, our primary goal is to provide our members with the financial services they need at the most favorable terms possible. This means lower and lower fees for services like stop payments, wire transfers, and overdrafts, which can add up to significant savings over time.

High-Yield Savings and Investment Options

Another way to leverage your credit union membership is by exploring the high-yield savings and investment opportunities available. Credit unions typically offer share certificates, also known as certificates of deposit (CDs), and money market accounts with attractive interest rates.

These savings and investment products can help you grow your money faster compared to traditional savings accounts at big banks. With the help of your credit union, you can develop a savings strategy that aligns with your long-term financial objectives, such as buying a home, saving for college, or planning for retirement.

Credit Counseling Services

Your credit score plays a pivotal role in your financial success. A higher credit score can lead to better interest rates on loans, more favorable credit card terms, and improved access to various financial opportunities. If your credit score needs some help, your credit union can assist you in repairing and rebuilding it.

At Education First Federal Credit Union, we offer credit counseling with our SmartScore program to help you understand your credit report, identify areas for improvement, and develop strategies to boost your credit score. Our financial experts can guide you on steps like debt reduction, timely payments, and responsible credit card use and help you understand all the ways that your credit score matters.

Financial Education Resources

One of the most valuable benefits of being a credit union member is access to financial education resources. Credit unions are committed to empowering their members with the knowledge and skills they need to make informed financial decisions.

We offer a wealth of educational materials, including articles, workshops, and online resources. These resources cover a wide range of financial topics, from budgeting and saving to investing and retirement planning. The more you know about managing your money, the better equipped you are to achieve financial success. 

One of our easiest financial education tools that you can access right now is Zogo. Zogo is a gamified financial literacy app that rewards you for completing bite-sized financial literacy lessons on intelligently saving, spending, and managing your money. You can also always access our financial calculators to help you work through your financial needs and goals. 

Member-Focused Products and Services

Credit unions design their products and services with their members' best interests in mind. Unlike big banks that often prioritize profits, credit unions are dedicated to providing value and benefits to their members.

For example, at Education First Federal Credit Union, we offer member-focused products such as our totalREWARDS cards, which reward you with high-interest rates and cashback for everyday spending. These accounts make it easier for you to save and earn money while going about your daily life.

Community Involvement

Credit unions are deeply rooted in their local communities. We're not just financial institutions; we're community partners. When you become a member of a credit union, you're joining an organization that is committed to making your community a better place.

Being part of a credit union gives members and employees an opportunity to engage in local events and initiatives. With credit union initiatives like our employee volunteer program Volunteer Investment Program (VIP), or the Blue Jean Friday Fund, our employees are able to donate their time and dollars back to the communities where our members live and work.

The credit union also gives back to the local community through scholarships and programs like  Paying it Forward where every time you open a loan with us, we make a donation to the school or campus of your choice.

Online and Mobile Banking

In today's digital age, credit unions have embraced online and mobile banking to offer members convenience and accessibility. You can manage your accounts, transfer funds, pay bills, and even deposit checks from the comfort of your home or on the go.

Education First Federal Credit Union provides an easy-to-use mobile app that ensures you have your financial information at your fingertips. With the convenience of online and mobile banking, you can stay on top of your finances and make quick decisions to achieve your financial goals.

Fraud Prevention

With the undeniable convenience of having the world at our fingertips via the internet comes the unfortunate reality of increased potential for fraud. This is why we make sure our members have access to fraud prevention resources to help them keep your accounts safe, monitor activity on your debit and credit cards, and receive electronic statements and notices through a secure, encrypted environment. 

Security and Peace of Mind

Credit unions prioritize the security of their members' financial information. As not-for-profit organizations, our primary goal is to protect and serve our members. We employ robust security measures to keep your data and assets safe.

In addition to safeguarding your financial information, credit unions often provide insurance on deposit accounts through the National Credit Union Administration (NCUA). This government-backed insurance ensures your savings are protected up to $250,000 per account, giving you peace of mind as you work towards financial success.

Education First Federal Credit Union is dedicated to helping our members achieve financial success. By leveraging your credit union membership, you gain access to personalized financial guidance, competitive interest rates, low fees, affordable loans, high-yield savings and investment options, credit-building services, financial education resources, member-focused products and services, community involvement, and secure online and mobile banking.

Whether you're striving to save for your child's education, buy your dream home, or retire comfortably, your credit union is there to support you every step of the way. We're more than just a financial institution; we're your partner in achieving financial success.

At Education First Federal Credit Union we’re ready to work with you to unlock the full potential of your financial future. We're here to empower you, educate you, and guide you toward the financial success you deserve.