Before you decide on a financial institution to deposit your savings at or to obtain a loan from, you'll want to make sure you are getting the best available interest rate. You can check with credit unions and banks to see their current published rates.
In general, credit unions offer higher savings rates and lower loan rates. This means your savings will grow faster and you will owe less over the life of your loan. Credit unions also tend to charge less in fees, require lower minimum deposit balances, and offer better interest rates on credit cards.
SNL Financial, Inc. is an independent company that tracks interest rates and terms at financial institutions nationwide and regularly provides NCUA with credit union and bank interest rate comparisons.
In its June 2014 analysis, SNL Financial found the difference between banks and credit unions was greatest in car loan interest rates. The average 36-month used car loan interest rate offered by credit unions was 2.71 percent compared to 5.26 percent for banks. For new car loans, credit unions offered an average interest rate for 48-months of 2.64 percent compared to 4.78 percent for banks. The average interest rate for credit card loans at credit unions was also lower at 11.55 percent compared to 12.89 percent for banks. For deposits, SNL Financial found credit unions, on average, had higher 5-year CD interest rates at 1.34 percent compared to banks at 1.15 percent.
In the same survey, credit unions and banks had comparable interest rates for 30-year fixed mortgages (4.29 percent vs. 4.28 percent for banks).