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Pondering a switch to a credit union

November 2nd, 2011 at 03:10 pm

The CEO of my bank apparently made some callous remarks about surviving this economy at a Chamber of Commerce meeting. I can't find a transcript so I can't tell exactly what it was or whether it's being spun (positively or negatively) by reporters.

But in trying to find more about this meeting, I did find out that he's nicknamed "the Golden Boy of Wall Street" and that my bank is more involved in predatory lending than I realized. (Since US Bank didn't appear in many stories about the mortgage debacle, I assumed they were a more temperate bank in their financial behavior.)

So, I dunno. I've had good experiences with the bank overall, and I'm very used to the online checking system. But I'm uncomfortable that banks think they can do business the way they do and think that no one will take their business elsewhere.

I'm online looking at credit unions, and I think I found one that's not too inconvenient to us geographically. (There are closer ones but we don't meet the membership eligibility -- having to work for a specific company or industry.)

Seems like their checking accounts, ATMS, checks, etc. are free, which would be important (I typically don't pay a dime to do my banking). And your money is protected up to $250,000 -- we only have about $20,000 in checking and savings.

Anyone have any thoughts on credit unions? I've been with my big bank for so many years -- are there any drawbacks or inconveniences you can think of?

6 Responses to “Pondering a switch to a credit union”

  1. frugalgirl Says:

    The banks where I live all charge fees for using an ATM at another bank. We stay with our current bank because there are branches of this bank in grocery stores and basically all over town so we can always get cash out without paying any fees to do so. That's the only thing that I would miss if I switched to a CU.

  2. MonkeyMama Says:

    I've only banked with CUS, personally (aside from online savings accounts like Ally). There are absolutely no drawbacks or inconveniences. But, that said, you have to evaluate each financial institution on its own merits. When we switched to a local CU here, we shopped around, and some were terrible. The one we are with now is very large/regional, and so I like their online bill pay better and customer service is 24/7. They pretty much hold their own against any banks, but interest rates are better and services are cheaper. I personally don't understand why I would ever need a branch though. I have always transacted everything online (or over the phone, pre-internet).

    Most CUs network together so that ATM withdrawals are free, from any CU. Living in large metro areas, I always found the "free ATMs at any CUs" far more convenient than sticking to one specific bank.

  3. baselle Says:

    I switched to a CU in April (BECU). Part of the switch though was that a branch of it was in a grocery store that I shop at - just for convenience sake. I haven't tried the ATMs at other CUs to demonstrate to myself that I won't get a fee. I've used their customer service and tried their bill pay and I like it - but I especially like their interest rate on the first $500 in checking and savings - 6.17%! Even if I absolutely have to use a fee-laden ATM, a couple of months of interest pay for that. Smile

  4. Miz Pat Says:

    My local credit union is very nice, but has very few tellers. And its interest rates are horrible, even worse than the bank, but that doesn't mean much now.

    Now I have to look up this information about the US Bank because I go to US Bank.

  5. Miz Pat Says:

    I found a link talking about this.

    http://www.nakedcapitalism.com/2011/11/hubris-watch-us-bank-ceo-sniffs-about-breaking-rules-when-his-bank-has-huge-trustee-liability.html

  6. ceejay74 Says:

    Thanks Miz Pat! The article makes my head spin; I can't comprehend what US Bank has done that's "rule-breaking," though I don't think the writer is making anything up; I just don't get the financial wranglings he's talking about enough to understand what US Bank did wrong. But that dismissive comment alone is just a sign to me how little he respects his customers, so it's tempting to switch based on that.

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