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Bank vs Credit Union: Your thoughts?

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Bank vs Credit Union: Your thoughts?

Old 11-03-04, 03:02 PM
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Bank vs Credit Union: Your thoughts?

I'm curious to know people's opinions in regards to banks vs. credit unions. I know there are pros and cons to both, and I'm not biased either way-(I work at one and bank at the other), but the more I learn more about how each one operates, I'm curious to know why most people choose to utilize banks, and are most people even aware of credit unions and their differences? I wasn't until recently.

For example:

BANKS

Pros: 1) Often branches and ATMs are national or even internationally located= CONVENIENCE! They offer most financial products and services available.
Cons: 1) Higher fees, lower rates, inferior customer service, owned by shareholders, not customers.

CREDIT UNIONS:
Pros: 1) Lower fees, higher rates. Owned by all customers who bank there. Profits returned to customers through better rates, services etc. Superior customer service.
Cons: 1.) Smaller branches, few locations/ATMs, less convenient. Don't always offer all financial services available.



These are just a few examples, but the biggest reason I can come up with is convenience, what are your thoughts?
Old 11-03-04, 03:08 PM
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I think conviencience is #1. Some of the credit unions have become less competetive too. In fact, both my wife and I close our credit union accounts not too long ago because they introduced new fees we didn't like.

I'm thinking of joining a new one, because the one I can join through my employer offers excellent rates and you only need $5 to open an account.
Old 11-03-04, 03:13 PM
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Picking the right account at a bank will save you the fees. Bank online and use direct deposit and most banks will waive fees. I use Bank of America and I haven't paid a fee in years.

Using an online bank like ING for long term savings (money you don't need on a daily basis) will get you higher rates.
Old 11-03-04, 03:14 PM
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credit unions are less of a headache. it's less convenient, but they at least won't screw you over.
Old 11-03-04, 03:18 PM
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I've belonged to my credit union for 15 years. It has most of the services offered by the big banks, including online banking. Finding an ATM without a fee is not easy, but I don't use cash that much anyway. And if I need to I can pay a few bucks to withdraw from another ATM. It's a small price to pay compared to the fees I'd pay at a bank.
Old 11-03-04, 03:46 PM
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Never used a credit union. However, I fail to see how fees could be any lower. I pay $1 a month for my checking account, and that's only because I have a debit card (and the fee is only charged when I use the debit card during the month, which is not every month).

Free checking, free online banking (with free bill payment) for life, no minimum balance, etc, etc. They have ATMs everywhere I usually am. Granted, there is a $1.50 fee if I have to use another bank's ATM, but that's only like maybe 2-3 times a year so it's not even a noticable thing to me, really.

To be blunt about it, I use my bank because I haven't seen anything better from anybody else. If a credit union gave me everything I have now and paid me interest on my checking account or something, I'd consider switching. But nearly all credit unions I've seen are way more restrictive. Minimum balances, weird fees, etc.

Customer service? I don't need customer service. I need internet banking, I need ATMs on every other corner, I need low fees. I haven't actually spoken to somebody from my bank in like 3 years and I have no plans or need to do so. The only things along these lines that I've seen that are better than my own bank are purely online banks, with no physical offices, sort of thing. These have the possibility of being competitive in the future, I think.

Last edited by Otto; 11-03-04 at 03:50 PM.
Old 11-03-04, 03:49 PM
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Well I work for a bank so...
Old 11-03-04, 03:49 PM
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Originally posted by Otto
Customer service? I don't need customer service. I need internet banking, I need ATMs on every other corner, I need low fees. I haven't actually spoken to somebody from my bank in like 3 years and I have no plans or need to do so. The only things along these lines that I've seen that are better than my own bank are purely online banks, with no physical offices, sort of thing. These have the possibility of being competitive in the future, I think.
Old 11-03-04, 03:57 PM
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i banked at a bank for a long time and finally got fed up. i'm now at a credit union. it may be different than other credit unions... it is our state employees credit union.

the main difference to me is the attitude it seems everything is done with.

bank attitude:
in everything they do, they are trying to fuck me for a dollar

credit union:
in everything they do, they are trying to help me


it mightnot be like this everywhere, but i have noticed a huge difference, and love banking where i bank now.
Old 11-03-04, 03:58 PM
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My wife tried to get a business loan at a bank. No one at the bank could even be bothered to look at the paperwork she'd filled out. When someone finally did look, he told her that she'd completed the wrong forms and gave her a different set. They would schedule appointments and then no one would be there when she arrived. After a couple of days of calling, they would reschedule next week with the same results. This happened three times in a month.

So she pulled her money out and took it to my credit union. Customer service does matter.
Old 11-03-04, 04:09 PM
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Originally posted by Otto
Never used a credit union. However, I fail to see how fees could be any lower. I pay $1 a month for my checking account, and that's only because I have a debit card (and the fee is only charged when I use the debit card during the month, which is not every month).
The fees can be lower. My fees for using a debit card (and I use it all the time): $0/month.
If a credit union gave me everything I have now and paid me interest on my checking account or something, I'd consider switching.
My credit union pays me interest on my checking account.
But nearly all credit unions I've seen are way more restrictive. Minimum balances, weird fees, etc.
My credit union has no weird fees. There's a minimum balance of $25 on my savings account.
Old 11-03-04, 04:13 PM
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i also get interest on checking. i think it is 1.25%, and 2% on savings...

what i do not understand... is with online banking... WHY DOES NO ONE LET YOU TRANSFER FUNDS TO SOMEONE ELSES BANK ACCOUNT EASILY AND INSTANTANEOUSLY???? this seems like it would be easy to set up, and very convienient... charge me 50 cents or something and let me wire 10 bucks to my buddies account for the NCAA pool he is setting up or something. the only solution is like western union or something and that costs 20 bucks and takes like 3 days. why why why!
Old 11-03-04, 04:15 PM
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I can easily transfer to somebody elses account...if they belong to the same credit union.
Old 11-03-04, 04:18 PM
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Originally posted by aintnosin
Picking the right account at a bank will save you the fees. Bank online and use direct deposit and most banks will waive fees. I use Bank of America and I haven't paid a fee in years.

Using an online bank like ING for long term savings (money you don't need on a daily basis) will get you higher rates.
That's my exact setup.

-pedagogue
Old 11-03-04, 04:21 PM
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moorehed: Only good way I know of to do that is paypal. A bank that would let me do that quickly and easily would get my business.

Groucho: Okay, so you have $0/month for your checking account, and get interest on it. Do you get free online bill payment? I write one check a month, for my rent. All my other bills are paid through the bank's website. EFT to those payee's that can handle it, they mail a printed check to those who cannot. No fees for this service. This I consider to be an absolute requirement, as I'm not going back to mailing checks to people. Might as well go back to the barter system as far as I'm concerned.

Transferring to other people in the same bank/CU is worthless to me, BTW. When I transfer money to other people, generally they're across the country. I'm currently handling the money for my annual St. Pats trip/vacation, and have to be able to receive money from Georgia, KC, Cali, NYNY, Wisconsin, and half a dozen other places. Paypal has worked pretty well so far, but it does require the sender to have a paypal account. Fortunately, most of my friends are net savvy and can cope. Easy interbank transfer is what is needed. A method for somebody to go online to their bank and say "send this person money, and here's some ID number that they gave me" or something easy like that. Something universal.

Last edited by Otto; 11-03-04 at 04:24 PM.
Old 11-03-04, 04:26 PM
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Originally posted by moorehed
i also get interest on checking. i think it is 1.25%, and 2% on savings...

what i do not understand... is with online banking... WHY DOES NO ONE LET YOU TRANSFER FUNDS TO SOMEONE ELSES BANK ACCOUNT EASILY AND INSTANTANEOUSLY???? this seems like it would be easy to set up, and very convienient... charge me 50 cents or something and let me wire 10 bucks to my buddies account for the NCAA pool he is setting up or something. the only solution is like western union or something and that costs 20 bucks and takes like 3 days. why why why!

To electronically transfer $$credits to another institution, your institution must have the capability to "originate" transactions to other institutions-which would require your signature authorizing your institution to send it on your behalf, that and the other institution must be set up to receive electronic or "ACH" transactions. Believe it or not, many institutions can recieve electronic transactions, but cannot originate them to other institutions.

This is a great feature to have though, and is usually cheaper than wires and can be used many different ways.

Last edited by woofman; 11-03-04 at 04:28 PM.
Old 11-03-04, 04:26 PM
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Originally posted by Otto
Groucho: Okay, so you have $0/month for your checking account, and get interest on it. Do you get free online bill payment? I write one check a month, for my rent. All my other bills are paid through the bank's website. EFT to those payee's that can handle it, they mail a printed check to those who cannot. No fees for this service.
Yep...I have the exact same service...for free.
Old 11-03-04, 04:29 PM
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Many credit unions offer shared branching now. The closest branch of my credit union is like 40 miles away (been there for 15 years probably), but there are numerous other credit unions that I can access my account from, if need be, including one a mile away. I can deposit checks, withdraw, etc at any CU that is part of the shared branching network.

My credit union has no fees, only has a $25 minimum savings balance, easrns interest in my checking account, electronic bill payer, and lets me transfer to other people's accounts online.
Old 11-03-04, 05:11 PM
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I use Commerce Bank in NJ for checking - no checking fees, no ATM fees, $100 minimum balance for their basic, no interest acccount.

I use ING for savings, which is currently paying 2.20% compared to 0.45% average in NJ banks. My pay is direct deposited to my checking account, I pay my bills via each bill payee's website (except car insurance and car payment because they don't have it available) and I transfer money from checking to savings.

Works for me. Besides, I don't think I'm eligible for any credit unions.
Old 11-03-04, 07:00 PM
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My credit union is in a group that has "no fee" ATM's, so I can use any ATM in that group for free. I've never had a problem finding a free ATM, even when travelling within Oregon.
Old 11-03-04, 07:08 PM
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Originally posted by Otto
Customer service? I don't need customer service. I need internet banking, I need ATMs on every other corner, I need low fees. I haven't actually spoken to somebody from my bank in like 3 years and I have no plans or need to do so. The only things along these lines that I've seen that are better than my own bank are purely online banks, with no physical offices, sort of thing. These have the possibility of being competitive in the future, I think.
I used Wingspanbank.com while they were in business. It was nice. Online only.

They'd pay your atm use charges up to $5 per month. Toward the end, they had an association with Bank One, where you could make deposits at their atm locations. Before that, you would have to mail them your deposits in a prepaid envelope (I did this serveral times with checks, but never with cash). The nicest thing about them was that they only had a single account and it gave you a nice interest rate on it. Not this bullshit where you have to have separate checking and savings accounts, and the checking barely gives you anything. I liked not having to balance my accounts.

Sadly, their association with Bank One went too far and they got bought out. Bastards at Bank One couldn't give me access to my account for 3 weeks, giving me some bullshit that they couldn't access it because it was in a different region. I thought Bank One was a national bank! Well, as soon I access to my money, I left and got an account at a credit union.

The credit union's not as good as Wingspan was, but it's better than at the two previous banks I've been with, Bank One & Bank of America. No monthly fees. Two free teller transactions per month (with the account I went with), and online banking. I haven't had any problems with them yet and for now, I've sworn off going to a bank.
Old 11-03-04, 08:18 PM
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I love my credit union for no other reason that I never wait in line. The Ladies at the bank know me by first name and take care of all issues.


The only thing about it i dont like is that there are not a bunch of atms around if i need cash. I never use cash so it doesn't bother me at all. I can always go somewhere and buy a pack of gum and get cash back.

Credit union all the way IMO.

I have had Bof A IMo they suck and are crooks.

I've had Wells Fargo they suck ass.

been at a credit union for 6 years and I love it.
Old 11-03-04, 09:16 PM
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I have banked at both. for the most part, a good credit union is better than a good bank. Alot of CU now participate in a national credit union program that will allow you to do much of your banking (deposits, withdrawls, cashing checks) at ANY credit union that participates in the progaram (sorry, cant remember it). the last credit union I was with was a pain in the ass, though. They thought they were a bank. After many years with them, I left them and got a account a Washington Mutual bank, which treats me like a credit union. Loan rates are usualy alot better at a credit union. Last time I got a car loan, I got it at my CU because it was 3% cheaper than the bank I worked for would give me.
Old 11-03-04, 09:42 PM
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I have both. Actually, I usually have accounts with more than one CU. They tend to offer better rates on loans.

My credit union checking - no minimum, interest, no monthly fee. The only fee they have that my normal bank does not is a 75 cent charge for withdrawing from another ATM, which is not a big deal to me. Free online banking (even integrated with Money for automatic updates). Bill pay does cost extra ($3/month), however I pay my bills on each creditor's website, so this is irrelevant.
Old 11-03-04, 10:12 PM
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When visiting the states, I wanted to switch some coin rolls for bills. The bitch teller charged me ten cents for each roll. The same rolls they just give back to other businesses. She also acted like the type of employee you'd find working at a Wal Mart. Bitchy and annoyed that she had to actually do her job, and count my coins.

And yes, I had an account there.

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