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October 14, 2021
The Credit Union Difference: Why Choose a Credit Union Over a Bank
Have you ever wondered what is the difference between a credit union and a bank? Both financial institutions provide an array of financial services from everyday banking to loans, but the main difference between them is in the ownership.
Banks have customers. Credit unions have members.
What difference does that make? If you ask us, a big one. We like to call it The Credit Union Difference.
Credit unions are…
Not-for-profit and owned by members
A bank is a for-profit financial institution owned by stockholders. You already know how stocks work, but as a recap, companies have a vested interest in turning a profit for their stockholders — even when that’s accomplished at the expense of the customers through higher fees and higher interest rates on loans. In contrast, a credit union is owned by its members. We have an interest in doing what’s best for the membership as a whole and returning those benefits to their members in the form of better rates on savings and loans.
Focused on relationships and service
At a credit union, the team members want to get to know you — not just your name but also your financial needs and goals. We’re here to learn about where you are and help you get where you want to go. When you call us, you’ll talk to a real person who lives in the communities we serve. We like to think we’re more human, less robotic than the many faceless banks out there.
Involved in the community
From involvement in charities and other community organizations to financial literacy initiatives, credit unions are all about giving back to our members and the communities we serve. Find out more about what we’ve been up to lately in our Community News. At Grow, we care about your financial wellbeing and want to help you grow real wealth in your life, so we make financial literacy education a priority. We share educational content regularly on our Education page and through our social media. Follow us on Instagram or Facebook to stay in the know.
Insured by NCUA
Your money is safe with a federally insured credit union. While the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) handles the banks, the National Credit Union Share Insurance Fund (NCUSIF) insures share accounts in federally insured credit unions for $250,000 per qualifying account. Find out more about how your funds are insured.
Saving our members money
The Credit Union Difference isn’t just about relationships, though member relationships are a top priority. It’s also about saving you money. How? Lower fees and better rates. The Credit Union National Association (CUNA) estimates that credit unions provided direct financial benefits during the twelve months ending March 2021 equivalent to $115 per member or $242 per member household, compared to banks.* How’d they calculate this amount? The estimated total benefits of credit union membership were calculated by accounting for differences in average credit union and bank pricing, including savings account yields, loan interest rates and fees. For example, the average 60-month new car loan rate was an average of 1.56% lower at credit unions compared to banks, and the average mortgage closing costs were a whopping $210 lower. Talk about money that adds up!
Serving people, not profit
So, why choose a credit union over a bank? As a not-for-profit financial cooperative, we work for the benefit of our members, not the pocketbooks of corporate stockholders. Every day, our members are at the heart of what we do, and member service is what we’re all about. At Grow, our mission is to serve people, not profit.
Ready to experience the credit union difference?
*CUNA U.S. Membership Benefits Report, Q1 2021. Accessed September 16, 2021.
How to Find Your Routing & Account Numbers
When you make a payment online, by phone or on a mobile device, you may be asked for our routing number and your checking account number. Credit unions and banks use these numbers to identify accounts and make sure money gets where it’s supposed to be. You’ll also need to provide your routing and checking account numbers for:
- Direct deposits
- Electronic checks
- Military allotments
- Wire transfers
Where to Find Your Routing & Checking Account Numbers
Your personal checks include both our routing number and your account number, as shown on the Grow check example below.
Don’t have a Grow check? No worries.
Visit any Grow store and ask for a Direct Deposit Form. It lists both your routing number and checking account number.
Making a Loan Payment
When it comes to making payments, we try to make it as painless as possible to pay your loan every month. We have several different ways to pay, including convenient online options.
You have two ways to pay online by transferring funds from another bank or credit union.
- Grow Online Banking (Preferred payment method for any loan)
This is the simplest way to pay your loan. You can make one-time payments or set up automatic recurring payments in Grow Online Banking. Once you log in, select “Transfer/Payments” from the menu. If you’re not enrolled in Grow Online Banking yet, you can set up your account in just a few minutes.
- Debit Card or ACH (Available for auto, personal loans and HELOCs)
Note: ACH and debit card payments are not available for credit cards or most mortgages, except HELOCs.
We accept ACH payments with no additional fees or Mastercard® and Visa® debit cards with a convenience fee of $4.95. To get started with an online ACH or debit card payment, select Pay Now below.
Pay by Mail
You can also pay any Grow loan by check through the mail. Please remember to include your account number and Grow loan number on the check. (For credit card payments, please do not write your 16-digit credit card number on the check, which can cause a delay in processing the payment.)
Address for auto, credit card, personal loan and HELOC payments:
Grow Financial Federal Credit Union
P.O. Box 75466
Chicago, IL 60675-5466
Address for personal first or second mortgages and home equity payments:
Grow Financial Federal Credit Union
P.O. Box 11733
Newark, NJ 07101-4733