"CBS News MoneyWatch" has solidly endorsed credit unions for consumers.
In a Jan. 12 column, "Bye Bye Banks: Time to Join A Credit Union," Bob Trebilcock offered an example of a couple in Iowa who had tried for weeks to get their bank to refinance a home equity line of credit and then turned to an area credit union which agreed to refinance the loan in thirty minutes.
Trebilcock then outlined the lower fees and higher yields credit unions offer, extensively outlined how consumers could find a credit union to join and described the different credit union products that might help them. The only aspect of the credit union industry of which Trebilcock appeared unaware were nationwide shared-branch networks as he cited a need for convenience as one reason a consumer might want to keep a checking account at a bank.
"You won't necessarily find a bargain mortgage rate at a credit union, but you'll probably have an easier time getting a loan than at a bank and pay lower closing costs," Trebilcock wrote. "Many credit unions make mortgages, with down payments on 30-year fixed-rate loans as low as 3%. Recently, banks were charging 5.34%, on average, for a 30-year mortgage, compared with 5.31% for credit unions; the rate on a one-year ARM was 4.56%, compared with 4.26% at credit unions. And credit unions charged an average $2,280 in closing costs, versus $2,309 for banks, according to the latest CUNA survey."