We spoke with four college students that chose to use a credit union over a bank. Here are the three main findings…

They really cared about credit unions being not-for-profit:

  • R: “The charitable donations made by credit unions in my area are awesome. I’m from Texas and when Hurricane Harvey hit, the credit unions in the Houston area all came together and pitched in donations and it really left an impact on me at a young age.”
  • C: “The social impact of everything has definitely become more and more important with each generation. Within the past couple of years, I’ve started to care about which businesses I support, for example if a clothing store is ethical and sustainable. In my eyes, this was a huge selling point for my local credit union as they worked with local businesses that believed in the same things I did.”

They saw the membership benefits to credit unions as favorable to banks:

  • D: “One of the best things that my credit union offered was lots of scholarships for high school and college students. I was able to get a $500 scholarship myself. Nationwide banks do offer scholarships but literally a million people are applying for them so it doesn’t seem very accessible, but when it’s in your community you know you it’s more attainable.”
  • T: “I was pleasantly surprised when I found out that credit unions offer better rates on loans and care about returning money back to members. As part of Gen Z, my financial situation was at the forefront of my concerns, particularly as I was about to move out of my family’s home for the first time. I was keen to both save and grow my money and my local credit union offered the tools to help with both.”

After they learned about credit unions and what they do for the communities, there was no second choice for them. They said the only hurdle is getting the credit union message out to young people (a recent study by Zogo Finance found that 76% of students didn’t know what the function of a credit union was*):

  • R: “Growing up I just always found banks more intimidating than credit unions. I was just starting to learn about personal finance and credit unions seemed like they were really willing to explain everything and help me out. I needed that.”
  • C: “As mentioned before, the fact that my credit union worked with local and sustainable businesses was a big selling point. However, this fact can get lost due to lack of awareness. I only knew about the community initiatives of my local credit union because my parents also used the same credit union, but I know a lot of my friends have no idea that credit unions are so invested in social change. I think we need to make sure young people know about this.”