Choosing Principles Over Profit
Why does it seem that every time you turn around your bank is charging you a new fee or increasing an old one? The answer lies in the way banks are structured.
All banks, from gigantic national banks to one-branch community banks, are built to generate a profit for their shareholders. That doesn’t mean that your bank is evil or looking to pick the pockets of hard-working people. It does mean, however, that their primary focus is on whatever adds to their bottom line. Sometimes that profit-first focus leads to decisions that are in the best interest of the bank but not in the best interests of its customers.
Seattle Metropolitan Credit Union is built differently, so we operate differently. From the very beginning SMCU has been a not-for-profit financial cooperative. In 1933 seven City of Seattle employees pooled their money to make loans to each other at rates that were far better than what they could get from profit-driven banks. Since those first days, SMCU has held to the Seven Cooperative Principles that have been guiding all cooperatives since the eighteenth century.
The Seven Principles guarantee that SMCU’s primary focus is the needs of our members. Because members built the credit union, every decision SMCU makes is in the members’ best interests.
Better Rates. Fewer Fees.
Because SMCU doesn’t have to work to make an ever-increasing profit for our shareholders, we are free to give back excess revenue in the form of better rates and services. As a result, SMCU consistently has some of the best deposit and loan rates in the Puget Sound. Our members-first philosophy also means that we don’t have to charge confusing fees to pad our bottom line, so SMCU has some of the lowest and fewest fees around.
You Don’t Have to Compromise to Get a Great Deal
Even though, SMCU is a different kind of financial institution, we still offer the same financial products and services you associate with the big, national banks. At SMCU you can get everything from basic savings accounts and money market accounts to innovative checking accounts and VISA® credit cards with a robust rewards plan.
SMCU also offers all of the conveniences you would expect. You can use our free Online Banking to keep an eye on all of your accounts. Pay your monthly expenses without ever writing a check thanks to SMCU’s free Bill Pay service. If you are away from your computer, you can use the Mobile and Text Banking services to get balances or make transfers 24/7.
Banking at SMCU means you get the best of both worlds: all of the products and services you would want from a commercial bank and the member-focused philosophy of a cooperative.
28,000 Surcharge-Free ATMs
Because SMCU is a cooperative, we work with other credit unions to provide services that benefit all of our members. We are a part of the Co-op ATM network, which allows you to access 28,000 surcharge-free ATMs across the U.S. and Canada. When you need fast access to cash it doesn’t matter whether you are on Capitol Hill in Seattle or on Capitol Hill in Washington D.C. If you have an SMCU checking account, there is a surcharge-free ATM right around the corner.
Our partnership with other credit unions also means that you can do your banking almost anywhere in the United States. As a member of the shared branching network, SMCU gives you access to more than 6,800 branches across the country. You can make deposits, pay your loans, and even withdraw cash, just as if you were standing in your local SMCU branch.
Give and Receive with Feel Good Checking®
Only a co-op could create a product like Feel Good Checking, a unique checking account that makes a difference for our members and our community.
Feel Good Checking pays a high dividend rate* on your first $500. It also allows you a free box of checks every year the account is open. Best of all, Feel Good Checking has no minimum balance requirement and no monthly service charge.
If those were the only features of Feel Good Checking, it would be a great account. What makes it truly remarkable is that it gives back to the organizations that make our community a better place in which to live. For every Feel Good Checking account opened, SMCU donates $20 to one of our community partners, such as Food Lifeline and PAWS, as chosen by the member opening the account.
Through 2011, Feel Good Checking has raised almost $90,000 for these amazing groups.
Get Great Rates and Rewards with SMCU VISA®
There are all kinds of rewards cards in the marketplace today. Various cards promise travel rewards, merchandise rewards, or airline points while glossing over exorbitant interest rates or astronomical annual fees.
With SMCU’s VISA credit card you don’t have to choose between great rewards and a great rate.
SMCU’s rewards program has many of the same perks of the rewards program from the national credit card companies. When you open an SMCU VISA you will accrue rewards points every time your make a purchase. As your points grow, you can redeem them for brand-name merchandise, vacations, hotels, and free or discounted airfare.
Even with all that flexibility, SMCU offers interest rates that put the big guys to shame. Add in that you won’t pay an annual fee and the choice to use an SMCU VISA credit card becomes obvious.
Open Your Account Today
If you are frustrated with the policies and fees of the commercial banks, but you are worried about giving up the convenience they offer, Seattle Metropolitan Credit Union is the right place for you. We offer the same products and services they do but at a significantly lower cost.
If you are ready to take control of your financial life, make the switch to SMCU. Our specially trained branch representatives will help you move your accounts as well as your electronic payments and Direct Deposits with no hassles.
You can start enjoying all of SMCU’s benefits today by applying for membership and opening your accounts online. Open a brand-new checking account or refinance your auto loan to save money every month. It only takes a few minutes, but you will get a lifetime of better products and services.
That’s Co-op Banking.
*Enrollment in eStatements and Direct Deposit is required to receive dividend.