PUT MY MONEY? We’ve probably all used the services of a bank or credit union at some point, but do you know the difference between the two? Eric Jacks with ASE Credit Union gives us the rundown.

BANKS are owned by investors- meaning they are controlled by stockholders. They are open to the general public, and usually, do not require you to live in a certain region or have a certain affiliation to be a customer. Because of this, they’re often considered to be more accessible than credit unions.

• Are generally small in size and regional in footprint.
• Make their decisions locally, not with computer models like regional and national banks.
• Are owned by their members— meaning they exist for the financial benefit of those members, not stockholders.
• Are non-profit, so any profits made are returned to the members through dividends and improved services.
• Offer lower interest rates on loans and higher interest rates on deposits than banks, as well as fewer and lower fees than banks.
• Usually, share resources instead of competing with one another. Through shared ATMs and co-op branches, ASE Credit Union members have access to nearly 30,000 ATMs and over 5,000 branches in the United States to handle their banking needs.

In short, if you’re looking for the widest variety of services and accessibility, a bank might be the best choice for you. However, if you’re interested in fewer fees, higher quality customer service, and more affordable products, consider checking out a local credit union like ASE.

Eric Jacks was born and raised in the River Region. He graduated from AUM in 1996 and began his banking career in 1995. He is married with two kids, and attends Centerpoint Fellowship Church.