Personally, I can’t stand the conglomerate banks. The corporate feel, lack of down to earth service, hidden fees, and the insane lines on the weekends. Alternative? Credit unions. I love the small town feel of a credit union. I like knowing I’m not only a member but an owner. It’s encouraging to know that all the profits go straight back to the account holders.
So, if you are with one of the major banks and you’re feeling down, why not check some local credit unions? It can be rough trying to find the right one or even knowing what to look for in the first place. Well, hopefully I can help you on this journey. Here are some tips I’ve learned along the way.
Look for “whole service”
The most important thing you need to watch out for is what types of services a credit union offers. You don’t want to join one to find yourself looking for a bank again because you need a home loan. Make sure the credit union offers any services you need currently or any services that you foresee needing in the future.
Is it convenient?
With credit unions, you don’t have the luxury of traveling anywhere and knowing there will be an ATM nearby. Remember that most credit unions are local and don’t offer ATM’s outside of their general vicinity. You will want to make sure that the credit union is close to our house on on the way to work. You don’t want to drive out of your way to do a simple thing like withdraw some cash for a movie. Another aspect you need to keep an eye out for is mobile banking and online services. Do you really want to come in to a branch office every time you want to make a transaction? Make sure they offer a solid/secure website that
makes it easy to manage your money.
What are your needs?
Since most credit unions cater to a specific group of people, you might find yourself looking for one that caters to your lifestyle. Examples include military, state employees, and many others. You will find you will receive better service and better rates if you fit into a credit union’s small niche. This isn’t to say that you shouldn’t still join if you’re not a member of a nice. Many credit unions still offer much better rates than large banks regardless of the type of group you are a member of.
Go with the lowest fees.
Fees. fees, fees. No one likes them, everyone has disgust for them. Why pay more than you have to? You should shop around for a credit union with the lowest fees and make sure that there are no hidden fees. This is truly where credit unions rule over major banks. Most credit unions will lay it all out on the floor as to what their fees are and what types of charges they will execute. It’s not rocket science but it can make a serious dent in your long term cash flow if you’re not careful.
As you can see, there are some general tips to finding a solid credit union. You should take all things into consideration when you’re shopping for one. Everything from their service offering to fee rates, it’s all important and should factor into your decision. Once you have chosen your credit union, you can feel at ease knowing that you are not only helping the local economy but keeping your money safer. A credit union is a wonderful community institution and I highly recommend you join one today!
What has your experience been like with your local credit union? Would you recommend credit unions to others?