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  • Writer's pictureKristyn Burtt

Performers & Money: Why a Federal Credit Union Makes Cents

Updated: Oct 12, 2020

If there is one thing that 2020 has taught is that money can be a very fragile thing. One moment you're touring around the globe dancing with a major musical artist and the next moment, every show is canceled and it's hard to figure out what the rest of the year will look like.

That's a scenario that's too familiar to many performers in the arts industry — from Broadway to TV and beyond. In a time like this, every dollar counts and money needs to be managed wisely.

One easy way to manage your money is to put it in a credit union versus a bank. Credit unions are member-owned financial institutions that encourage a sense of community while offering lower fees, better interest rates and an understanding of how a performer's income can ebb and flow. They take care of the community.

In New York City, Actors Federal Credit Union was founded in 1962 to help Actors’ Equity Association members, the Broadway performers' union, get approved for credit. Diffr'ent Strokes star Conrad Bain was one of the actors in charge of getting the credit union up and running. Dirty Dancing star Jerry Orbach was issued the credit union's first mortgage in the late 1960s, while the legendary Angela Lansbury was honored as the 10,000th member in 1979.

On the West Coast, SAG-AFTRA Federal Credit Union has been assisting TV and film performers, dancers and crew members since 1962. In 2020, the credit union stepped up to help members going through difficult financial times by offer micro-loans with no payments or interest charges for the first six months with no credit check needed. That's something most banks wouldn't even consider.

Other things to keep in mind when moving your money to a credit union is the fact that customer service still exists. With a smaller community to serve, it's easier to find a friendly face when you need your banking questions answered. With more focus on its members, it can be beneficial in helping meet your financial goals.

It's also good to remember that any federal credit union will be just as safe as an FDIC-insured bank. They are backed by the U.S. Treasury and insured up to $250,000 like banks.

As we round into the last quarter of the year, it's time to take stock of how your money is working for you. The performers' federal credit unions are a terrific way to gain control of your finances so you'll be solidly pirouetting into 2021.


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