Pros and cons of credit unions?

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  • 1 Post By juanab
  • 3 Post By mrspoppers

I've been thinking of switching from my bank to a credit union for a long time, but I don't really know what's at stake. Can someone who's belonged to both a bank and a credit union fill me in on the differences? What are the inconveniences you have to deal with, aside from fewer ATMs?
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Not in one but a bunch of my coworkers are. And the most frequent complaint is lack of access (no ATMs and only two branches w/ limited hrs). They always have to schedule time during lunch or whatever to make trips to either of the two branches in the city where they can bank. And if it's a wknd, they are screwed. And we are talking about a big credit union and a big city.

Other than that, I probably would have joined. They give great rates and have good perks, like two freebies a year where you don't have to pay your car note, etc. In the long run, I realize, that can be more of a minus that a plus, but it's good to have the freedom, I guess.
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Last edited by spiderlashes5000; 11-16-2012 at 05:00 PM.
When I was in college I took a class called Personal Financial Management. The professor emphasised repeatedly to join a credit union instead of a regular bank whenever it was possible. I switched from a big bank to one of the area credit unions probably about 6 or 7 years ago. I went with the credit union that seemed to have more branches/ATMs. I generally don't have issue with convenience unless I'm travelling out of the area. I don't get charged fees if I use an ATM associated with another credit union and I get 4 free non-credit union ATM uses per month.

Credit unions typically can offer better rates and reduced fees compared to banks. They don't report to stockholders the way that big banks do.

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I have been a credit union member for over 30 years. Better rates, better perks, less fees. For those who don't have many ATMs, there should be affiliates where they can bank. My credit union is in west central FL, but I don't have any issues or pay any fees to access my money when I visit my sister in VA, where I use CU affiliates.
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Last edited by juanab; 11-16-2012 at 01:00 PM.
Timely thread. I am thinking about switching to one, too. I currently use an online bank which I love, but I am worried they will be changing things starting next year.

The credit union I am looking at has great ATM access. I was pleasantly surprised. One thing I am concerened about is the technology may seem dated compared to what I am used to. I know they do not offer remote check deposit which is a big convenience for me. But, then again, I don't deal with checks all that much.
I haven't used a bank in almost 30 years. No issues regarding ATM availability as mine and most are in at least one of several networks (CreditUnion 24, CU Here, Co-op Solutions, Star, Plus, Honor) that support each other - no ATM fees of any kind either. Basically, no fees for anything, unless you're a check bouncer, or request something special like a stop payment on a check, or something like that.

Mine is a member of an organization called Credit Union Member Services so that I can make deposits, cash checks, make withdrawals, etc. at many other credit unions besides mine.

Many credit unions have a credit committee comprised of elected members who review borderline loans, giving you an extra chance aside from the loan officers that you'd never get at a bank.
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I have been a member of my credit union since 1991. I like it so much, I just changed my business banking from Chase Bank over to my credit union. There are fewer and lower fees, plus the financial position (deposits, assets. etc) of my CU is actually stronger than Chase Bank.

I'm not sure all CUs are alike, but mine is a very good one - I place a lot of faith in it.

I've been a CU member for 3 years, the SO since 1995. It's a good sized one here that has many branches in the city (and on military bases) and is part of ATM networks. I usually do my banking at a CO-OP CU (not mine) that is closer to home with no problems whatsoever. I recently got a home loan for our investment house/crash pad and got a fantastic interest rate that I really didn't expect from a CU. The free notary is a nice bonus as well.
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I worked in credit unions for more than 10 years and my husband has worked in them for 15 years. (In fact we met at a credit union.) I have banked at credit unions since 1993 and will never use a bank for consumer loans, checking accounts, or savings. For various reasons, my mortgage and a very small slush account are at a bank but that's it.

Credit union are not-for-profit financial institutions. They are owned by their members and return profits to their members in the form of lower loan rates, higher deposit rates and lower fees than banks. They have to follow all the regulations that banks do, and more, and they are also insured by the government. Your money is just as safe, if not safer, as it would be in a bank.

The comment about not being convenient because they have fewer branches and ATMs than banks is not true for me. I have used a branch fewer than 5 times since the 90s. Those few branch visits were only to sign loan documents and get cashiers checks. Keep in mind, during those years, I worked in a credit union and could have used the branch whenever I wanted. My credit union lets me use any Co-op Network ATM nationwide for free. They also have shared branching so I can go to other credit union branches, just like they were my own.

The other nice thing about credit unions is that they usually have technology way before banks do. Since they're smaller, they're way more nimble. Things like internet banking and bill pay were available at my credit union long before any banks had them. When I went to work at a bank, I couldn't believe how behind the times they were.
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Quote:
When are women going to face the fact that they donít know their own bodies as well as men who have heard things?

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They give great rates and have good perks, like two freebies a year where you don't have to pay your car note, etc. In the long run, I realize, that can be more of a minus that a plus, but it's good to have the freedom, I guess.
Originally Posted by spiderlashes5000
What would make these things a minus rather than a plus, spider?

ETA: Oh wait, not having to pay your car note was the perk you named and I can see still owing that money you got to not pay being a problem in the long run. Nevermind! Shouldn't be posting with sleepybrain.
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They give great rates and have good perks, like two freebies a year where you don't have to pay your car note, etc. In the long run, I realize, that can be more of a minus that a plus, but it's good to have the freedom, I guess.
Originally Posted by spiderlashes5000
What would make these things a minus rather than a plus, spider?

ETA: Oh wait, not having to pay your car note was the perk you named and I can see still owing that money you got to not pay being a problem in the long run. Nevermind! Shouldn't be posting with sleepybrain.
Originally Posted by wild_sasparilla
Yes, it's a compounded problem. Skipping two months of payments doesn't extend your loan by two months. It's actually longer because the interest compounds. The earlier in your loan term you do it, the worse it is for you. Not only that, oftentimes the people who who take advantage of that are the ones who are having financial difficulties in the first place and it just digs them deeper into a hole. I used to hate those skip-a-payment promotions when I had to market them.
Quote:
When are women going to face the fact that they donít know their own bodies as well as men who have heard things?

Don Langrick
Bonsai Culturist
well i have both and like both. i have always heard it's good/safe to have a credit union account and that for savings and loans they're the best.

since i have direct deposit and a credit card and do bill pay through my bank (wells fargo) my account is free and they're everywhere which i like! their services are good and i think their website is pretty good but i don't use their mobile banking app since it has low reviews and i really don't have to do banking on my phone. all my bill pay stuff goes through super quick which i like.

i have a credit union account with chevron from about 15 years ago. they gave me my first car loan. good deal. i've always stuck with them and they've been helpful for a few things here and there. if need money i request a check in the mail. i refuse to pay atm fees and i don't really get money out of that account often. since working at my current job i opened a credit union account with them and do direct deposit straight from my paycheck to them. works easy, i never see the money. i don't use them for anything else. if i need to do anything they are in the lobby of the building and i can go during the work day.

i think it might be good to have both unless you feel you only want to do one over the other in which case i think others have shared compelling reasons for a credit unions only if you really want to abandon your bank.
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Last edited by luvmylocs; 11-17-2012 at 03:54 PM.

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