For those who may not be aware, credit unions offer all the same products and services that you’ll find at a bank, but do so more affordably because they are not-for-profit.
Unlike banks that work to make a profit for their stockholders, any profit generated by the credit union is given right back to its members in the form of higher dividend rates and lower loan rates.
Would your bank do that?
Baxter Credit Union (BCU) ranks among the nation’s top 100 credit unions and has a branch location in Crystal Lake.
Pocket the Savings
BCU offers its members more competitive rates on personal loans, car loans, deposits and more.
“Even mortgage rates are better at BCU,” says Taylor Murray, manager of the Crystal Lake service center located on Main Street just north of Route 14. “The Credit Union’s closing costs are significantly lower than other companies.”
The Credit Union is at the top of the playing field when it comes to modern banking techniques, too.
Want to take a picture of your check and deposit it via a mobile app on your Android™ or iPhone®? At BCU, you can do that.
Sizeable credit unions like BCU have the ability to invest in technology and access points that even community banks may not be able to offer.
Need cash from an ATM, but don’t want to pay a hefty fee to access your own money? There are 70,000 surcharge-free ATM machines throughout the country — many conveniently located in Target and 7-Eleven stores. That’s twice as many ATMs as some of the country’s big banks, so BCU members have free, easy access to their money anywhere they may be.
And it doesn’t take much to become a member. Just deposit $5 to a savings account, and you’re a member for life. Once a member, you immediately enjoy additional perks, such as the ability to earn interest on your checking account and CURewards® points on debit and credit card purchases that are redeemable for valuable merchandise or travel awards.
A Better Way to Bank
People are taking notice of what BCU has to offer. After 32 years in business, the Credit Union has grown to more than $1.6 billion in assets, serving more than 140,000 members.
In addition to the Crystal Lake branch, you’ll find additional BCU branches throughout the U.S. and Puerto Rico.
“I’m proud to say we offer the best service in town because we have the best people working here,” Murray says. “Offering reliable and friendly service combined with a wide variety of products that fit our members’ needs is critical to BCU’s long-term relationship with the community.”
“Everything starts with our employees,” he continues. “We’re all passionate about what we do. If we aren’t excited about BCU, how can we expect our members to be excited about banking here?”
In today’s busy world, convenience means a lot. Imagine the peace of mind and the time that would be saved if you never had to shop around for the best deal on a mortgage or car loan again.
At BCU, making banking convenient is important, but establishing and maintaining relationships with members means even more.
“I met [BCU representatives] at the Crystal Lake Expo, and I really liked the non-bank approach to them,” says Jim Tomasek of Marengo, who has been a member at the Crystal Lake branch since it opened in 2004. “I feel because it’s a smaller [institution], they know me. I walk in and feel everyone knows me. They greet everyone by name.
“The fees are not there with a credit union,” he continues. “And it always seems they’re willing to help with any loan or credit card issue.”
BCU’s top priority is to listen to its members. When members asked for debit and credit cards to be different colors to make it easier to identify in their wallet, BCU delivered. When they asked to be able to transfer money easily between accounts, BCU figured out a way to make it happen.
“Like anything else, if you’re doing a good job, giving great service and delivering on your promises, people will come back to you,” Murray says. “At BCU, our members come back to us over and over again.”
BCU is serious about helping its members, and they also are serious about community focus. The Credit Union not only gives back to its members by delivering great service and superior rates, it gives back to the community through various other means as well.
Much of the organization’s philanthropic vibe comes directly from the top. CEO Michael Valentine lives in Cary and has been with the Credit Union since 1984.
“He’s incredibly passionate about helping people,” Murray says. “And he has a vested interest in this location.”
That vested interest means BCU looks after the people in its own backyard.
As the assistant director of Friendship House, a nonprofit child care center located right down the street from BCU, Tomasek knows how important the Credit Union has been to local organizations.
Friendship House runs the McHenry County Children’s Expo, and BCU has been a major sponsor over the years. The Credit Union has also helped with Friendship House’s galas and fundraisers and recently donated an iPad to raffle off at Bowlapalooza — Friendship House’s annual fundraiser to replenish supplies and equipment in its classrooms.
“Everybody that I refer over [to BCU] loves it,” Tomasek says. “I know a lot of our clients here at Friendship House use it because a lot of them make payments with credit cards. I process BCU credit cards all the time.”
It’s not uncommon to find members like Tomasek with multiple ties to BCU.
For example, Chuck Young’s involvement with BCU is three-fold.
The Crystal Lake resident works for Sage Products, a local medical manufacturer for patient cleansing products based out of Cary, which joined ranks with BCU years ago because the two companies share similar values.
“We partnered with [BCU] through Sage Products and offered them as our bank-at-work program for all of our employees because we believe in giving back to the community,” Young says. “[Sage] encouraged all of us to participate because of the community atmosphere aspect [of BCU].”
Young’s involvement with BCU through his company also opened another door to work with the Credit Union.
For the past five years, Young has been on the foundation board of the Northern Illinois Special Recreation Association. NISRA serves community members with special needs, creating programs for them to be everyday citizens, with special emphasis on encouraging its participants to become active in athletics, arts and entertainment.
When Young approached Murray for help with fundraising for NISRA, Murray didn’t even hesitate.
“He’s already got a lot of his employees involved to support our efforts, and that alone is a reason why I’ll never leave,” Young says.
“When they follow through on what they say, that’s huge.”
“On a personal level, I do all my banking there,” he adds. “For me, it’s the personal touch. Every time I walk in there, they know who I am. And that relationship with [Murray], I feel like I’m giving back to him.
“He’s given so much to us, and that’s the way it should work.”
For more information about BCU, visit the Crystal Lake Branch or go to www.BCU.org.