Georgia credit unions deliver more than $217m in direct financial benefits to members

Figures from CUNA also show the more favourable interest rates offered by the sector on mortgages and auto loans

Credit unions in the US state of Georgia have provided $217,101,677 in direct financial benefits to their 2.1 million members over the past 12 months, figures reveal.

The 2017 mid-year Georgia Membership Benefits Report, released by the Credit Union National Association (CUNA), covers the 12-month period ending in June 2017 and shows an average direct financial benefit equivalent of $197 per member household.

“Credit unions are literally wired up to provide additional value to their members,” said Mike Mercer, president and chief executive of Georgia Credit Union Affiliates, the state trade association for credit unions.

“As not-for-profit co-operatives, credit unions place member benefits at the top of their priorities. They do not have an obligation to provide value for third-party shareholders. Members appreciate doing business with organisations that are designed to help them – just ask them!”

The report shows the interest rate for a new car loan at a Georgia credit union averaged 2.52%, compared to 4.69% at a Georgia bank. This means a Georgia resident financing a new $25,000 automobile for 60 months at a credit union would save an average of $293 per year in interest compared to a loan from a Georgia bank.

In addition to auto loans, credit unions offer lower interest rates for 5- and 15-year adjustable rate first mortgages, as well as home equity second mortgages, says the report.

Credit unions also have a lower interest rate for both classic and platinum cards. Savings accounts, IRA accounts, money market accounts and regular savings accounts all collected more interest at Georgia’s credit unions than at Georgia banks.

Furthermore, credit unions also charge lower fees. Credit card late fees averaged nearly $10 less at Georgia credit unions, and the average mortgage closing fees were more than $200 lower than those charged by Georgia banks.

In addition to significant financial benefits, credit union members in Georgia enjoy the convenience of access to more than 400 branches – many of which participate in a shared branching network – and a surcharge-free ATM network. The 2.1 million Georgia consumers who choose credit unions for their financial services continue to affirm credit unions’ value proposition, and total assets exceed $2.1bn.

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