Since Memorial Day is fast approaching, I would like to thank those who have paid the ultimate sacrifice for America. I would also like to remember and thank all our veterans, active duty members, and their families on this very special weekend.
For the other 364 days of the year, over 72 credit unions around the country, with a specific field of membership of the military, are serving our servicemen and women when they need assistance with their finances.
Beyond these military credit unions, others around the U.S. are serving 1,429,995 active Navy, Marines, Air Force and Army personnel that maintain a gap between financial knowledge and those that actually maintain a personal relationship with a credit union or a bank. Further complicating the issue is that most military personnel are from the millennial generation, who don’t have a lot of trust in financial institutions.
Life is not simple for members of the military. They are frequently on the move, work abnormal hours, travel or even live overseas. This makes simple financial transactions like ATM access, deposits and money transfers extremely difficult. These young military men and women face unique financial challenges and are prime candidates for credit union membership.
• 27% of service members have credit card debt that exceeds $10,000. That’s compared to only 16% of civilians.
• Spouses of the military maintain a 26% unemployment rate and earn 25% less than non-military.
How Can Credit Unions Help This Segment of the Population?
• Offer credit cards specifically for the military and lower rates for consolidation loans.
• Provide financial products that offer specific incentives for smart money management behaviors.
• Feature first-time vehicle purchase discount programs for military families with little or no credit.
• Provide educational seminars for home buying, investments and retirement.
• Promote financial counseling programs to teach military members about credit reports and credit history, and personal money management.
• Maintain payroll deduction services to help personnel pay off loans directly from their salary or pensions.
• Maintain job boards and career counseling to support the service families in their area.
• Discounts on services and even theme park tickets are offered as a way to say “thank you for your service.”
If you are a veteran or military spouse and are considering opening a small business, consider joining a credit union for your banking needs. They offer incredible advantages for small business owners and because they are member owned, they always act in their member’s best interest.
Obviously there are many credit unions around the country that are aiding the financial needs of the U.S. military. Their service to the military isn’t just about business. It’s about providing outstanding financial products and services that our nation’s heroes deserve.