Credit unions almost unanimously unite under the banner and mission of helping their members. It is a noble cause and credit unions may be one of the last beacons of altruism in the cutthroat world of banking and financial services.

There is one dark blemish to consider, however. A majority of credit unions that provide investment advice do so through a third-party broker/adviser. In some cases, the broker/adviser may have office space within the credit union. In other cases, it is just a referral program. In both instances, there is a common thread. The adviser is most often a full service broker who provides biased investment advice for basis points and product commissions that are not transparent to the member.

It is no secret that investments can have fees, commissions and expenses associated with them. The real question is how much are they? Unfortunately most Americans don’t really know the answer to these questions – mostly because they never write a check. The average individual trusts their adviser to help them make the most of their investments and guide them toward retirement.

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