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Benefits of Credit Unions over Big Banks

Mar 04, 2024



Differences between credit unions and big banks

Banks are for-profit institutions. Commercial banks are often owned by investors or privately owned. What this means is that a bank’s priority isn’t their customers – it’s their shareholders. On the other hand, credit unions are not-for-profits, and are owned entirely by members. Being a member of a credit union allows every member to have an equal vote for important decisions such as who is on our board of directors.  Most credit unions hold annual meetings which are open to the full membership, and where the financial results of the credit union are reported directly to the members.


Compared to banks, credit unions typically offer lower rates and fees along with personal customer service. The profits a credit union makes are returned to the members in the form of lower, fewer fees and better interest rates. 

The most important difference when comparing big banks and credit unions is that banks are aiming to generate high profits for their shareholders while credit unions focus on meeting the needs of their members and giving back to their communities.

Credit unions were founded on the principles of economic democracy – where every member has equal ownership and one vote – regardless of how much money a member has on deposit. Unlike for-profit financial institutions, credit unions do not issue stock or pay dividends to outside stockholders. Instead, earnings are returned to the members in the form of lower loan rates, higher interest on deposits, and free checking accounts. 

Simply put, at a credit union you get an equal say and an equal share.

Many people know their bank deposits are insured by the FDIC up to $250,000.  But did you know that credit unions have the same insurance through the NCUA?  And at TruChoice, we take it even farther – every member has additional Excess Share Insurance, protecting your funds up to $500,000!


Most Maine credit unions are community credit unions, meaning you do not need to work at a specific place to be a member!


Why a credit union (and TruChoice specifically)

  • Members come first.  We are your financial partner. Our business model is not built around maximizing profits, it's built around maximizing membership. We want to help you make the most of your money, so we take time to learn your story, and provide you with the specific, personalized tools you need to gain control of your finances – and achieve success. At TruChoice, your goals are our goals.
  • No ‘gotcha’ games with fees.  We have free and easy checking accounts with no monthly service fee or minimum balance.
  • Anytime, Anywhere Access!  You don’t need a big bank to have an easy-to-use app!  Not only do we have a great mobile app and online banking, but you can also apply for loans and membership online, and even e-sign your documents. So, whether you need to apply for a loan, check your account balance, or pay a bill, our mobile and online options are there for you 24/7! And even if you move away, we are still by your side - we are proud to say we have members in all 16 counties and in over 48 states.
  • Friendly, personal service. We’re your neighbors, your friends, your family.  We’re here to listen, to care, and to help you every step of the way.
  • Easy to join – You do not have to work somewhere specific; it is super easy to become a TruChoice member. If you live, work, worship, or attend school in Androscoggin, Cumberland, Franklin, Kennebec, Knox, Lincoln, Oxford, Sagadahoc, Somerset, or York County in Maine –you are eligible! Or, if you have a relative who is already a member of TruChoice –you are eligible! Once you are a member, TruChoice will always be your financial partner!  The best part? You can join right online


At TruChoice, our focus is on what matters most: the trust of our members.

We want you to know that no matter where you are in your journey, we are here for you. At TruChoice, it is not just about loans, it is about relationships. It is not just about deposits; it is about community. It is not just about cash; it is about conversation. And above all, it’s about trust. Whether it is sitting beside you to build a plan to reduce debt, texting you the answer to a quick account question, or helping you deposit your first check with our mobile app, we will earn your trust with every interaction.