Treated like family

Credit unions offer alternative over traditional banks


Heath and Wendy Johnson wanted a relationship with their financial institution

Wendy and Heath Johnson are the quintessential American couple, working hard and raising their daughter.

Heath works as a sales manager for Verizon and Wendy is the Director of the Spokane District Dental Society. They have a mortgage, car loans and credit cards.

But they're more than names and numbers on an Excel spreadsheet, and they expect to be treated accordingly.

In essence, they want a personal relationship with their financial institution. Their experience with big banks fell short of that expectation, so they opted to join a credit union and never looked back.

“I've always been a credit union supporter, because I feel you get lost in the mix with a bigger bank,” said Wendy, a member of Numerica Credit Union. “I wanted to feel like I was the most important one when I walk into a branch.”

Heath agrees with his wife's desire to be treated well, but also expects his financial institution to have the latest technology.

“For me, I use the online features to do our finances, and I want them to be very user friendly or it doesn't work,” he said. “Credit unions are more customer service oriented than some banks. It's definitely about the total relationship for us.”

The Coeur d'Alene couple are in tune with the credit union difference, and they're not alone. More than 100 million Americans enjoy the benefits of credit union membership, including thousands of North Idaho residents, but the credit union phenomenon is worldwide. An estimated 223,000,000 members belong to some 65,000 credit unions in over 100 countries around the globe.

“Numerica strives to enhance lives, fulfill dreams and build communities,” explained Kelli Hawkins, Communications Director for Numerica Credit Union. “It is our honor and privilege to provide members with solutions and financial products that help them live well and reduce stress by offering better rates, lower fees, innovative solutions to reduce stress and outstanding support.”

Tomorrow is International Credit Union Day. The day highlights the history and achievements of credit unions and the cooperative nature of the credit union movement.

“Credit unions have a family feel where banks are more about just making money,” said Wendy. “I see Numerica everywhere in the community constantly giving back. It makes me happy to know my financial institution is out there helping people.”

While Heath appreciates Numerica's commitment to community service, he's been most impressed by the bottom line.

“Banks can't touch their loan rates,” said Heath. “We're saving substantial money with Numerica. That's money that goes in our pocket, not some bank far away from here.”

Traditional banks are for-profit corporations and earnings are paid back to investors. Credit unions are owned by the member with earnings in the form of better savings rates and lower loan rates. In addition, accounts may be free with no minimum balance requirements.

 “Numerica makes it so easy,” Heath said. “It's super convenient, and we're very happy.”

Wendy added, “I couldn't see myself anywhere else.”

-Written by Marc Stewart, Director of Sponsored Content

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