When it comes to personal finances, Canadians have a lot of choices. It can be overwhelming. While there are plenty of options to choose from, have you considered a credit union?

While a credit union might sound like an exclusive club for VIP members only, they’re actually open to everyone and offer all the same products as banks do, including chequing and savings accounts, mortgages, lines of credit and investments with competitive rates and fees. Credit unions are also provincially regulated — meaning they are required to meet certain standards to ensure they are among the country’s soundest financial institutions.

However, credit unions also offer some unique advantages — which is really what sets them apart.

1. Members are owners

As a member of a credit union you’re also an owner. This means that credit unions work for you, so you have an equal voice in how the credit union operates — no matter how much you have in your account. Where big banks need to answer to shareholders, credit unions are accountable to the member.

2. Equal treatment for all

No one likes paying higher monthly fees simply because they’re not a new customer. Some credit unions offer the same interest rates and fees regardless if you’re a new or longtime member. After all, shouldn’t your loyalty be rewarded?

3. Personalized advice

Credit unions have highly qualified financial advisors who can support you in building a financial plan, setting a budget, or simply providing advice on the best products and services to help you meet your goals. And because they are smaller, they often know their members by name, resulting in loyal relationships and consistently high rankings in overall customer service excellence.

4. Local knowledge and service

Credit unions employ local employees that understand your unique needs and goals. Why talk to someone 2,000 kilometres away about your finances when you can receive high-quality customer service right here in Niagara? Think of it as shopping local, but banking local.

5. Giving back to the local community

Credit unions are built on co-operative values and giving back to their communities is in their DNA. Credit unions have a long-standing history of this through supporting local charities and volunteerism.

PenFinancial Credit Union is one such example of a local credit union that stays true to its “Truly Local Commitment.” This means that it believes helping members and the community go hand in hand.

We give back a significant portion of profits, which are among the highest in the industry, to the community through partnering with local non-profits that make a real difference in Niagara, tackling issues like health and wellness, poverty and homelessness, education and the environment.

PenFinancial also proudly pays all employees a living wage as its minimum wage, which is regularly reviewed by the Ontario Living Wage Network.

Recently, we announced a sponsorship of the Niagara 2022 Canada Summer Games. We also puts our money where our mouth is when it comes to a commitment to the environment by partnering with Bullfrog Power to reduce electricity usage through green electricity in all its locations.

To book an appointment, click here.

Original story from The St Catharines Standard.