Servus Credit Union Review
So far on this site we've taken a look at a couple of Canada's leading credit unions. We've explained the basic ideas that drive these unique financial institutions, how they function, and the services they offer.
If you're a returning reader, you may remember how we compared and contrasted credit unions to traditional banks and explored the ways that credit unions put a unique spin on traditional banking. But to quickly recap before proceeding, credit unions are member-owned financial institutions that provide many of the same services as traditional banks. The difference is that credit unions limit their membership to particular classes of people and business, such as by geographic area, profession, or business type. Focusing their efforts on a particular class of persons and businesses allows credit unions to more deeply understand their clients' needs and, therefore, tailor their services directly to each client.
Today, we're going to take a look at Servus Credit Union, so keep reading to learn about the services this union has to offer.
About Servus Credit Union
Servus Credit union is based in Edmonton. Over 385,000 members entrust Servus to manage their finances, collectively placing more than $16 billion in assets under Servus's management. This is good enough to rank Servus fourth on the list of largest credit unions in Canada. Headquartered in Edmonton, Servus leverages its size to provide members access to over 100 branches across Alberta.
Servus belongs to the Alberta Credit Union Deposit Guarantee Corporation. This deposit insurer guarantees 100% of all funds deposited with Servus, meaning its members never need to worry about losing their chequing, savings, or GIC accounts if Servus were to fail. But it bears noting that the Alberta CUDGC does not, of course, guarantee investment funds.
Finally, like all other credit unions, Servus is owned by its members. As we've explained before, this means that its members get to share in the union's profits, instead of those profits going exclusively to stockholders. In this respect, Servus's members shared in more than $54 million in profits in 2018.
Personal financial services
Servus offers a full suite of personal financial services. From chequing and savings accounts, to personal credit cards, to investment, insurance, and estate planning services, Servus aims to be a one-stop shop for all its members' financial needs.
Personal chequing accounts
- Pay-as-you go: This flexible account carries no monthly fee. Members are charged $1.25 per transaction and $1.50 per Interac e-Transfer. This account is perfect for members who make only a handful of transactions each month.
- Plan 30: This account carries a $10.95 monthly fee, which Servus waives if the member maintains a minimum account balance of $3,000. Members receive 30 electronic or in-person transactions per month. Members also receive unlimited e-transfers.
- Plan 60: This account carries an $11.95 monthly fee, which Servus waives if the member maintains a minimum balance of $3,500. Members receive 60 transactions per month. Additional transactions and e-transfers cost $1.50 each.
- E-Plan 60: This plan is designed for members who prefer to do their banking online. It carries an $11.95 monthly fee, which Servus waives if the member maintains a $2,500 account minimum. It includes 60 electronic transactions per month, unlimited e-transfers, and one free non-credit union Canadian ATM withdrawal. It also allows members to bank in person for a small fee.
- Unlimited: This account carries a $14.95 monthly fee, which Servus waives if the member maintains a $4,000 minimum account balance. Members receive unlimited monthly transactions, including electronic bill payments and credit union ATM withdrawals. Members also receive unlimited e-transfers and 2 free non-credit union ATM withdrawals each month.
- Premium unlimited: This account pulls out all the stops. It carries a $25 monthly fee, which Servus waives for members that maintain a $5,000 minimum balance. It includes unlimited electronic and in-person transactions and unlimited credit union ATM withdrawals. This account also offers 10 free non-credit union Canadian ATM withdrawals each month, making it perfect for members who frequently travel to areas that don't have many non-credit union ATMs.
Personal savings accounts
- Basic personal savings: This account carries no monthly fee. Members receive 1 free transaction per month but are allowed unlimited transfers between Servus accounts. Additional transactions cost $1.25 each.
- Tax-Free Growth Account: This account carries no monthly fee and a premium interest rate. All interest earned on this account is tax-free. Members also receive 1 free transaction per month and unlimited transfers between Servus accounts. Additional transactions cost $5 each. The annual contribution limit is $6,000.
- High-Yield: This account carries no monthly fee. It features a tiered interest structure and allows members 1 free transaction per month. Additional transactions cost $5.
- RRSP High-Yield: RRSP stands for Registered Retirement Savings Plan. These accounts enjoy tax-deferred status, meaning contributions from the plan are typically tax-deductible. The account grows tax-free, and members instead pay tax when they withdraw funds from the account. This account carries no monthly fee and allows for unlimited transfers between Servus accounts. But because this account is designed to help members save for retirement, each debit costs $25 to disincentivize frequent withdrawals.
All Servus chequing and savings accounts also come with their automatic saving feature, free deposits (including photo deposits), a 100% deposit guarantee, e-banking, access to over 1,800 free ATMs across Canada, and Profit Share Rewards Cash each December.
No financial institution is complete without lending services. For this reason, Servus offers a full range of personal lending services, as well. These include mortgages with flexible payment options and Profit Share, personal loans such as auto loans, consolidation loans [hyperlink here to article on debt consolidation], and lines of credit, and a variety of MasterCard credit card options.
Servus's credit cards deserve a closer look, so we'll briefly set them out for you below.
- No-fee: As the name suggests, this card carries no annual fee. Members earn 1 reward point for every $2 spent and receive baggage delay and accidental death insurance. The interest rate is 19.99%. This card is perfect for the member who wants credit but doesn't need any extra features.
- Low-rate: In exchange for a $30 annual fee, members receive a low 11.99% interest rate. This card also features baggage delay and accidental death insurance.
- Gold: For a $75 annual fee, this card provides a host of benefits, including purchase protection, travel and rental car insurance, a high credit limit, 1 reward point for each $1 spent, and unlimited reward points earning potential. The interest rate is 19.99%.
- World Elite: This is Servus's most comprehensive card. For $150 per year, the World Elite card features 2 rewards points per $1 spent, access to in-flight Wi-Fi and airport lounges, zero-liability fraud protection, an identity theft assistance program, extensive travel insurance, and several other features. The interest rate is 19.99%, and the supplemental card fee is $40.
Business financial services
Servus works with Alberta businesses of all sizes in a variety of industries. From small and commercial businesses to agri-businesses and non-profits, Servus offers the tools and resources to help businesses grow.
Servus offers flexible business savings and operating accounts. Servus's business accounts feature competitive interest rates and the same 100% deposit guarantee as Servus's personal accounts. Servus also offers U.S. dollar accounts, giving businesses the flexibility they need to do business while avoiding fluctuating exchange rates.
Business credit cards
Servus offers one business credit card, the Business MasterCard, and one business debit card, the Member Card.
The Business card comes in three tiers:
- No fee: Featuring a $0 annual fee, $0 additional card fee, and 16.99% interest rate, this card allows businesses to efficiently track expenses.
- Low rate: This card carries a $75 annual fee and a $75 additional card fee. But for this annual fee, members receive an interest rate that varies with the member's creditworthiness.
- Rewards: This card also carries a $75 annual fee and $75 additional card fee. It carries a fixed 16.99% interest rate, but it also allows members to earn 1 reward point for each $1 spent. It also features up to $3,000 in trip cancellation insurance.
The Member Card is linked directly to the business's operating account, allowing members to spend cash without carrying it. It also allows members to access ATMs and use their card anywhere MasterCard is accepted, including online and internationally.
Servus's business financing services include variable and fixed-rate loans, allowing businesses to make capital improvements, invest in research and development, hire new staff, or expand their operations.
Servus also offers business mortgages and a unique Professional Practice program that provides specialized financing solutions designed for business, legal, and healthcare professionals. These loans are designed to help professionals meet their working capital needs, open a new practice, or purchase an equity share in an existing practice.
Servus has a complete wealth management practice that offers a full suite of investment tools. Just a few of these include GICs, mutual funds, stocks, and bonds. Servus also offers Registered Retirement Savings Plans and tax-free savings accounts as we covered earlier.
Trust and Estate Services
In addition to its wealth management service, Servus offers trust and estate planning services, too. Servus's trust and estate team helps members manage their assets and establish the legacy they wish to leave.
Servus's estate planning services include advising clients on tax-efficient ways to distribute assets, leading to the creation of advanced directives, powers of attorney, wills , and trusts. Servus then refers members to lawyers who specialized in estate planning to handle the drafting and execution of the necessary documents. Servus also helps members manage estate administration by assisting executors with the duties of administering an estate.
Servus also offers professional trustee services to manage assets held in trust for the benefit of another person. Servus partners with Concentra Trust to provide members access to a highly-trained team of experts who can provide advice on matters such as safeguarding assets, investing, distributing income and principle, tax reporting, and communicating with co-trustees.
How does Servus stack up to the competition?
Servus is an established credit union that offers a comprehensive array of services. But a couple of their offerings stand out in particular. First, their Professional Practice program provides a very valuable service to physicians, dentists, veteranians, lawyers, architects, engineers, and other professionals whether they are just starting their career, buying into a partnership, or stepping out on their own. Second, Servus's estate planning services nicely compliment their full range of other financial services, meaning members can keep all of their financial business under one roof if they desire.
Servus offers all the features you'd expect from an established credit union. But their Professional Practice program and trust and estate services in particular cause them to stand out from others. For residents of Alberta, Servus could be a solid choice of financial institution for either business or personal banking. But as always, we encourage you to visit Servus's website or set up a meeting to determine whether they're the right fit for you.