July 18, 2024 The Best Source of News, Culture, Lifestyle for Culver City, Mar Vista, Del Rey, Palms and West Los Angeles

Why credit unions aren’t as complicated as they seem

Southland Credit Union, located at 525 Santa Monica Boulevard, says the initial steps to joining is straightforward and the benefits are plenty.
Southland Credit Union, located at 525 Santa Monica Boulevard says the initial steps to joining is straightforward and the benefits are plenty.

The concept of a credit union may seem complicated or unfamiliar at first, but one of the purposes of this unique, not-for-profit financial institution is to promote its members’ monetary well being.

For residents, employees, and students of the Westside, the membership benefits of the accredited Southland Credit Union are available for the taking.

“We offer everything people can get at a large bank with better values, lower fees, lower loan rates, and higher rates on saving products,” said Matt Herrick, vice president of sales and marketing of Southland Credit Union. “Frankly there is a lot of value for potential members. We do offer some of the best rates out here, with a much lower fee structure.”

Since Southland Credit Union bases its membership eligibility mainly on geographical location, there is an expansive scope of opportunities for potential members in West L.A.

Although it is widely thought that credit unions are exclusive when it comes to offering membership, Josh Wilson, advertising & market research manager of the Southland Credit Union, explained that it is not as challenging as it is usually believed to join.

“Many people have the perception that credit unions are only affiliated with employers,” Wilson said. “However, almost anyone can find a credit union that they are eligible to join. Every credit union is unique, but for Southland, anyone who live, works, attends school, or worships in the designated area can join.”

Historically, Southland Credit Union was first established in downtown Los Angeles in 1936 and recently became a community charter in 2002. The credit union currently services a prominent portion of Los Angeles County – which includes the Santa Monica and Westside region – as well as the entirety of Orange County.

According to Wilson, the more specific, “greater Santa Monica region” is classified as the area from Venice to Malibu and includes neighborhoods like Brentwood and Beverly Hills. The Southern California-based credit union maintains its widespread membership well, as “about 7,000 members” out of the approximate total of 57,000 members are “based in the west L.A. area.”

Herrick explained that Southland has also seen “positive membership growth over the last decade” as more potential members become aware of the benefits that are offered and values that are held by the credit union.

Southland offers a free checking account through which a member can earn a cash reward of $175 during their first year by simply using the account.

Other benefits include online banking, mobile banking with mobile deposits, competitive real estate and investment home loans, no cost-no fee home equity lines of credit, and more, keeping convenience and quality service as the priorities.

The initial steps in joining Southland are straightforward: members can begin by opening a savings account with a minimum $25 deposit, which acts as a “share in the organization” rather than an actual fee. Members can then proceed to apply for a loan, open a checking account, or inquire in another service.

Southland is considered one of the top performing credit unions in the country with over $500 million dollars in assets. The credit union also recently earned a 95.8 percent Member Service Satisfaction rating.

Southland Credit Union is located at 525 Santa Monica Blvd. in Santa Monica.

For more information, call 888.898.9199 or visit SouthlandCU.org.

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