Credit unions typically offer consumers better rates on individual financial products, concludes University of Wisconsin-Madison researcher Judith F. Karofsky in the Filene Research Institute's latest study, "Shopping Strategies for Financial Consumers: A Study of Three Markets." Consumers who do all their business with a single financial institution are more likely to find that credit unions provide the best overall value on the bundle of five products examined in the study.

"This study shows that the odds of getting a good deal rise substantially if the financial institutions contacted are credit unions," says Bob Hoel, Filene Research Institute executive director. "Despite the cost of obtaining reliable pricing information, the financial payoff appears worth the time and effort. Differences in returns and costs are up to 225% on individual products and 161% on the bundle of services. If a consumer has limited time to search for the best deals and could only contact one or two institutions, our research indicates that the consumer would be better off contacting credit unions than banks."

The prices compared are for savings accounts, one-year certificates of deposit, credit cards, unsecured signature loans, and used-car loans.

© 2000 Credit Union National Association Inc.