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CUs' rates get nod from CBS News, other media
MADISON, Wis. (1/3/13)--Credit unions' rates on saving, checking and auto financing got nods from several media reports, including CBS News'  MoneyWatch,an article on checking accounts in The Gainesville Sun that featured Credit Union National Association (CUNA) President/CEO Bill Cheney, and The Cincinnati Enquirer.

CBS News' article, "13 money tips for 2013," featured credit unions in Tip No. 3. "Earn more on your safe money" (Dec. 31).

"Sure, interest rates are low, but with a little work you can squeeze out some extra money," the article said. It advised, among other things, to "shop around at credit unions that offer better interest rates than most banks."

The Gainesville Sun article, "Need a new checking account?" (Jan. 2) noted statistics from financial data publisher Bankrate, stating the average monthly service fee on checking accounts that don't pay interest is a record $5.48--a 25% increase over last year's average fee.

Among the tips: "Consider credit unions."  CUNA's Cheney explained in the article that "Most people qualify to join a credit union; you just have to find one you qualify for." The article pointed readers to ASmarterChoice.org to locate a credit union, and cited a report from CUNA in March than showed credit unions "also have more favorable interest rates on their savings accounts and loans. Interest on a savings account at a credit union averages 0.20% and 0.15% at regular banks." It also noted credit unions' large ATM networks are comparable to big banks' networks.

In addition, the Gainesville article quoted financial planner Kevin Kautzmann of EBNY Financial in New York, who said that all his clients who switched to credit unions had nothing but good things to say about them. 

Most credit unions offer truly free checking accounts, meaning you won't have to maintain a balance or sign up for direct deposits to avoid a monthly fee, the article said.

The third article, "Be careful when looking into auto financing," was published Wednesday in The Cincinnati Enquirer and written by Howard Ain, a consumer complaints ombudsman on WKRC-TV. Ain told of  a woman who received a letter from a company claiming it could refinance her vehicle with a rate as low as 3.99%. However, the interest rate quoted her after she applied was higher.

"While the deal would still save her money, I suggested she first check with her local credit union. She found a nearby credit union and was told if she joins, for just a few dollars, she could get a loan with an even lower interest rate."

"Bottom line, if you've got an auto loan with a high interest rate, it could pay you to contact a credit union and see if you qualify for a lower rate. These are very unusual times with record low interest rates and, if you qualify, you could save yourself a lot of money," Ain advised.

To read the full articles, use the link.
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