How The Amish Use Credit Unions

How do the Amish do their banking? Besides conventional banks, (such as the Bank of Bird-in-Hand), they also make use of credit unions.

This article in the Credit Union Journal (did anyone out there know there was a Credit Union Journal?) looks at three credit unions who count significant numbers of Amish among their clientele. They are Everence (Lancaster County), Geauga Credit Union (Geauga County, Ohio), and Brewster Credit Union (Brewster, Ohio).

There’s a lot of good info in the piece, but I found this bit particularly interesting, about a very Amish-specific type of loan:

Geauga offers a product that may be wholly unique in the financial services industry — a Horse & Buggy Loan. Since the Amish do not drive automobiles or trucks, they do not need auto loans — but they do travel in old-fashioned horse-and-buggies and they don’t come cheaply.

Briggs said that a new horse-and-buggy can range in price from $6,000 to $8,000 from local manufacturers, and are quite popular with young Amish gentlemen. For the older Amish who already own their own horse-and-buggies, the credit union has a hitching post in their parking lot as a convenience.

If you’ve ever wondered how Amish use financial institutions, you’ll find the article a good read. Read it in full here.

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    1. There is only one way to properly describe an article on Amish loans (and other financial issues)…

      (In my best Arte Johnson voice…..)

      Veeerly INTE-REST-ing

      1. I really APPRECIATE this comment Don (as opposed to depreciate it).

        Okay that’s my one for the week 🙂

    2. carebear57

      Hitching Posts

      I like the idea of hitching posts in the credit union parking lot. Years ago, my husband managed a McDonald’s in south Florida that had hitching posts. The area was surrounded by many horse farms & riding trails, so many of their customers arrived on horseback. So hitching posts at businesses is not just for our Amish friends!

    3. Nicholas

      I like that the local banks cater to local custom! It’s funny to think of folks that aren’t Amish (or some other horse and buggy group) riding horses to the bank, especially in Florida! I know that sort of thing happens, but it’s rare. Mom said when she lived in Berne, IN, the First Bank of Berne bought a lot nearby and set it up as horse parking. I think there is a barn for the horses there, now, but when she lived there it was just a gravel lot. Guess where the local Amish did their banking? 😉

    4. Ed from NY

      Great article. Shows the importance of small locally owned banks and credit unions.

      Question – do any Amish groups have specific beliefs about usury, that is to say, the charging (or paying) of interest?

    5. Nicholas

      I am not sure about usury, Ed, but I would suspect that the more traditional groups would be the more opposed to it as would groups that are very spiritually minded (like the New Orders). I think that Jewish law prohibits charging interest to your fellow Jews. I wonder if there is a similar practice with the Amish.

      By the way, Don Burke’s and Erik’s sense of humor is a CREDIT to this site!