The bank has finally crossed the line. I was recently informed that I could no longer cash a check unless I planned to deposit at least half of it. Now, while I can withdraw the money within twenty-four hours, this is still quite an inconvenience. I decided that a credit union might be the solution. It turns out that I was right, and I thought I would share a few of the finer points of it with you.
The first thing that I noticed upon visiting the credit union that I wished to join was the nature of the customer service representatives. These people not only seemed genuinely interested in helping you make the right choices for your financial future, but were as friendly as they were helpful. Since joining, I have made several visits, and each time the representative that I spoke with called me by name and asked about the family. Now that’s service!
The policies are far better than what the bank had. Yesterday was an exciting day for me, it was the first time I had been able to walk into a financial institution, cash a check, and walk back out with my money and no hassle. The credit union not only has more liberal check cashing policies, but as a member you own a share of the credit union, and can enjoy the benefits of that.
Credit unions often operate during “people hours”. This useful feature caters to the busy daytime schedules of professionals and families who may not be able to take care of banking needs during business hours. Having an establishment that is open until 7 pm on weeknights, 3 pm on Saturdays, and 2 pm on Sundays can make a real difference to busy people.
The term “free checking” is probably being used very loosely in most American banks. It seems with my “free checking” from my old bank, I sure paid a lot of fees. In fact, in seemed like they came up with something new on every statement. How that can be considered “free checking”, I don’t know. However, it was refreshing to look over several recent monthly statements from the credit union to discover that they had added money to my account, rather than debiting it. It never seemed like they were actually taking that much, but now that it has stopped, I can see where I am saving money by being a credit union member.
If you are thinking about switching, take the time and shop around. With credit unions becoming less selective about who can join, they are all offering great deals. It would be a good idea to call around and see which credit unions will offer you the best service and best deals once you join. It is also helpful to ask a lot of questions, because you never know what you are going to need in the future. For example, someone who currently lives in an apartment may want to inquire about interest rates on home loans. If you do these things now, when the time comes to buy a house, you will be in the best possible financial institution to help you along the way. (This of course, should be adapted to meet your anticipated needs.)