“If you’ve ever considered starting a credit union, then you should definitely consider RTP Federal Credit Union Durham NC,” says Ed Pilon, Executive Vice President of the RTP Federal Credit Union. “Their model of service and product delivery is top-notch.” “We have been providing members with excellent service and a well-organized, user-friendly approach to doing business for more than thirty years,” he continues. “We believe that the way we do business has everything to do with our members’ satisfaction and our ability to continually grow the membership.” “It’s a great credit union for starters,” agrees Karen Loeffler, Executive Director of the North Carolina Bankruptcy Institute in Raleigh.
“When you join any type of organization that deals with credit unions, it’s a good idea to look into the pros and cons first,” says Amy Demerau, Executive Vice President of the RTP. “RTP has strong industry standards and regulatory structure and is well on its way to being one of the leading credit unions in the nation.” “EDP’s strength lies in its community building component,” adds Demerau. “When members come together and work as a team, problems are solved and growth is encouraged. Having an established credit union presence in the local community is what will attract new members and keep them coming back.”
“A strong credit union is not just a financial service provider,” adds Loeffler. “There are other ways to view it. There are many ways to evaluate how well a company is doing. And, when it comes to services provided by a credit union, customer satisfaction is perhaps the most important rating. For an organization to thrive, it must be able to deliver.”
When comparing the services provided by a federal credit union to those provided by a local or state bank, you’ll see some differences, but no real comparison can be made. According to Demerau, “The key issue is that a federal entity is not as tightly integrated as a local bank. One can compare both in terms of customer service and variety of services, but comparing locally will always be more accurate.” Demerau continues, “EDP’s focus is on helping people get out of debt and improve their lives. While that is certainly a worthy goal, the focus of federal agencies is usually more practical and less emotional.”
According to Loeffler, “There are some differences between the two institutions that sometimes cause difficulties for the consumers. Perhaps the biggest of those differences is access to information. A credit union is bound by its contract with its members, while a bank is generally free to use information about its customers. That means that the members may unwittingly allow the bank to access their information.”
There may also be problems related to access to the member’s personal financial data. “A bank can have direct access to the financial data of its members. EDP’s members may be indirectly exposed to bank data through third parties, such as creditors and collection agencies,” Loeffler says. “EDP’s members may also be required to disclose their privacy policies at sign-in, although they may not need to do so under all circumstances.”
According to Demerau, “EDP’s members are often better protected than banks. EDP’s contracts, he notes, “specifically provide protections against misuse and illegal disclosure of information.” “EDP’s contracts ensure our clients’ confidential data is secure at all times, and that our members’ privacy policies are strictly observed,” says Tim Mladenov, director of government relations for The Credit Union National. “EDP’s legal contracts ensure that, in the event of a security breach, the Federal Trade Commission and the courts to protect our clients’ rights.”
But even if members have legitimate concerns about privacy issues, and even if the data security of the top federal credit union is sound, a better way to safeguard its members would be for the credit union to go it alone and become a not for profit cooperative. In fact, Demerau suggests, “There are two good reasons why a cooperative effort by an EDP (economic development corporation) or other consumer credit union could be more beneficial to members than an independently run banking corporation.” First, “The larger the size of a cooperative enterprise, the more resources it has at its disposal in terms of services, information technology and expertise. This could translate into more resources for the EDP to pursue its organizing objectives, and possibly lower fees that members might otherwise pay.” Second, “If a cooperative enterprise has a powerful brand name, then members might be more willing to lend their name and reputation to a lending organization with a solid reputation and strong market position.”