This morning I completed the final round of some very painful oral surgery. Normally I wouldn’t have anything nice to say about that.
(Except I should mention that my dentist, Derrick Champion of Scarsdale, is very good. And he accepts dental insurance. Those two things don’t often go together in these parts.)
Anyway, at the beginning of the summer, Dr. Champion announced that I needed this painful procedure ASAP. My insurance would cover half, but that left me with a sizeable bill for my own portion. I may be a girl on a budget, but that doesn’t mean I keep thousands of dollars lying around for the odd unexpected surgery. (I know I should. And I’m really doing so much better in the savings department. I promise.)
I left the dentist office in a bit of a panic. It would take me at least a few months to pull together that kind of money, and Dr. Champion made it clear that I didn’t have months to wait.
I should mention here that recently I joined a credit union through my job at Sarah Lawrence. I got fed up with everything I was reading about the big banks, and I decided to move my money into a non-profit institution close to home. One of the reasons I joined is for the personal service they offer, taking the time to care for each member and their needs.
So, the next morning I called , to see if there was anything they could do to help. I thought it was really too small of an amount to take out a loan for, but you never know.
I spoke to Rebecca, the loan officer. (One of my favorite things about the credit union is that it is staffed with actual people, who have names. Every time I need a loan, I will always go to Rebecca. And she will always remember me.) She told me that a small loan would be no problem; I just need to keep 10% of the loan amount in my draft (savings) account. She told me the interest rate would be less than 5% with no pre-payment penalty.
I faxed in a few papers, and Rebecca transferred the money into my checking account by the end of the day. Let me repeat: I called Rebecca in the morning, and the money was in my account by the end of the day!
I have never felt so well cared for by a financial institution. Heck, I’ve rarely felt so well cared for by other people.
I just love being part of a credit union. I love the feeling that when I call for help the person on the other end of the line is actually interested in helping, not turning a profit by charging unexplainable fees. And when I do pay a fee or interest at AFCU, I know that money will go toward helping a neighbor the next time they need some financial help.
Westchester is filled with small community banks and credit unions. If you aren’t lucky enough to work at one of the amazing colleges that belong to AFCU, you can probably join a different credit union through your work, your school, or your neighborhood. I think you’ll be happy with the returns on your investment.