Don’t like your credit union, but don’t like banks even more?

Posted: June 15, 2007 in Banking, Blogging, blogroll, Blogs I'm reading!, Community, Consumer Issues, F4Y Picks, Finance For Youth, Financial Institutions, Saving

I know a few people that belong to credit unions that suck. They are fighting the urge to open accounts at banks because they have it driven into their psyches that banks are evil and credit unions are good.

Some of these people would gladly go to another credit union, but they think they don’t qualify for them. Having worked at several credit unions over the years, I know that there are plenty out there that will allow you to join if you live, work, worship, or go to school in a certain community. If you are a relative of an existing member, that qualifies you too.

My wife just informed me of another qualification that I had never heard of. At some credit unions

YOU QUALIFY FOR MEMBERSHIP IF YOU ARE A MEMBER OF ANOTHER CREDIT UNION

That’s right, if you are part of a crappy credit union, your membership there will qualify you for membership at other credit unions, even if you normally wouldn’t be qualified. Now, I have heard of other “alternative” methods of qualifying for credit union membership, but those involve some sort of shenanigans, chicanery, or other general shadiness (sorry, I love it when you can use an obscure big word to say the same thing as a common small word) that makes me feel a little dirty inside for mentioning. Because I sometimes like to feel a little dirty, here are some of the shadier methods of forcing qualifications;

Join the PTA for whatever community you want to join. I guess the thought here is that you must be a member of the community if you would waste the $5.00 to join a PTA.

Getting registered for a church (generic for religious building) in the area. This usually costs a few donations to the church, but still small.

In the same vein of the first one, some people also show ties to a community by joining booster clubs, lodges (Elk, Shriner, etc) and calling that work. This only works if you catch a New Accounts Rep asleep at the desk, but I’ve seen it happen more than a few times.

Setting up a buisiness account (DBA or Doing Business As) with a mailing address in the community you want to join, regardless of where your physical address is.

The point is, there is no reason why you can’t find a good credit union. I like using BANKRATE when I’m directing people to credit unions.

And to all those bank people out there, the reason why I’m focusing on credit unions here is because there is usually no “membership” requirement for opening a bank account. I don’t advocate credit unions over banks or vice versa in many cases. In fact, most of the time, I suggest a little of each.

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