Credit unions versus banks
UB’s official credit union tells students about their banking options at UB
Published: Tuesday, September 18, 2012
Updated: Monday, November 5, 2012 19:11
Morton Lane Credit Union is UB’s official credit union. The Spectrum interviewed Member Communications Coordinator Deborah Butler.
The Spectrum: What is the difference between a credit union and a bank?
Deborah Butler: The main difference is the way the financial institution is owned. Banks are owned by stockholders, and credit unions are owned by the people who bank there. That is displayed in a lot of small differences, like lower or no fees at the credit union, lower interest rates on loans, better and more personal service.
TS: What is the relationship between UB and Morton Lane Credit Union, and how does it serve students?
DB: We deal with the faculty, staff, students as well as the alumni of University at Buffalo, Buffalo State and Roswell. Buff State was the first college that we served, and we served them since 1962, and then UB joined us in ’73 and Roswell joined us a little later. Just about anybody can bank at just about any bank. Credit unions only serve people who share something in common, like the community they live in or their employer. Now for us, it’s employers being UB, Buff State and Roswell, as well as students of course.
TS: Where can UB students go to join Morton Lane Credit Union?
DB: We have a branch at UB at Crofts Hall, as well as our headquarters, which is on Englewood near South Campus.
TS: How many students at UB bank at your credit union?
DB: Well over 4,000 people bank with Morton Lane Federal Credit Union. Close to half of those are students, staff and faculty from UB.
TS:How many credit unions are in Buffalo?
DB:According to the website creditunionaccess.com, there are 30 credit unions in Buffalo, and many others in neighboring areas. As I mentioned, credit unions serve groups of people who have something in common, for example their employer, where they go to school or their community. So of the 30 plus in the area, most people will be able to find at least one credit union they are eligible to bank with. For example, at Morton Lane Federal Credit Union, students, graduates, faculty and staff from UB, Buffalo State and the staff at Roswell Park Hospital are eligible to bank with us.
TS:What are the benefits of banking at a credit union?
DB:We’re actually considered a not-for-profit organization, and that means that when we do earn profits, we return those benefits to the people who bank with us in the form of low or no fees, lower interest rates on loans and more free services.
TS:What are some of the free services?
DB:Home banking, most of our ATMs, the ATMs we have on campus, they’re charge-free – you don’t have to pay the $1.75 that you have to pay at most other banks.
There are two ATMs at UB – one in the Student Union and one in Alumni Arena.
TS:What would you say to a student who is considering banking at your credit union?
DB:If you want to put more money back into your pocket, joining a credit union is a great opportunity for you, and it’s always good to have several choices when you’re making a big decision like taking out a loan. So if you can compare our rates to those of a bank and our fees to those of a bank, we can help you save money.
They’ll put more money back in their pocket because we charge low or no fees and have better interest rates.
TS: Are there any disadvantages in a credit union compared to a bank?
DB: Banks are nationwide; they’re all over. There’d be a branch on every corner, whereas we just have our community locations. Now that doesn’t have to be a drawback, but that might be one thing. We’re not located in [students’] hometown if they’re going to school here but they live in Nebraska. We’re community-oriented.
Bauer Financial, a financial group, does a nationwide customer satisfaction survey every year comparing banks versus credit unions. Credit unions have won in that survey for customer satisfaction every year since 1983.