Credit Union Membership Soars with Young People
It’s not your grandfather’s credit union. Just ask the growing number of millennials who are among those turning to the not-for-profit financial cooperatives.
Elizabeth “Ebeth” Fielder, a 22-year-old who serves as a sort of young people’s ambassador for Michigan First Credit Union, says she’s one of many millienials who came of age during the financial crisis. As a result, she and many of her peers feel a philosophical pull toward credit unions, which often offer lower fees and better interest rates than for-profit banks, along with a focus on financial education.
“We don’t want to be looked down on because we have questions or because we just don’t know yet,” says Fielder. “We want to be taught and we want to make good decisions, so it matters a lot.”
Nationwide, credit unions surpassed the 100 million membership mark this summer, a milestone which includes nearly half the population of Michigan. Fielder says she feels many millenials are connecting with the credit union philosophy of “people helping people.”
“They care about my finances. They care about my better being, and they care about the community as well,” she says. “I didn’t get that at all from my experience with the banks.”
According to the Michigan Credit Union League, the state’s 4.6 million credit union members saved nearly $226 million on fees and interest last year, compared with bank customers.