Colleen's thoughts on writing, directing and coaching, and her unique take on life itself!

Tuesday, January 05, 2010

Tired of being ripped off by big banks?

Put your money in a credit union or smaller local community bank.

I have not done personal banking in a big bank for nearly 20 years; I use a member-owned credit union.

My money is protected and actually safer than a big bank because my credit union will never ask for your taxpayer money to bail it out. More, I make more interest, do not pay for my checks or checking account .. and the list goes on.

I use a VISA debit card from my credit union; I will be getting a regular VISA credit card through my credit union as soon as I pay off my big bank credit cards so I will do all my banking business through it.

My credit union has all the financial services of a big bank, and because it's membership owned, there is more motivation to provide us members (every account owner is a member) with terrific customer service.

We must be doing well because we have several branches to better serve members who live in neighborhoods away from the headquarter branch.

Online banking, bill pay, ATM service - everything I need to keep my money safe and flowing is available there.

Small community banks can also be more consumer oriented because they're run by your neighbors.

BTW, credit unions have had to fight the big banks for decades to provide all the services they now furnish. For years, big banks have prevented credit unions from dispensing major financial services through lobbying congress. It's only been in the recent past that credit unions finally got "permission" to give every financial service we all need.

I've only spoken about this before with friends and co-workers who have had difficulties with their big bank; but last week Ariana Huffington of the Huffington Post has begun a crusade to get everyone with money in big banks to put it in smaller community banks and credit unions.

Part of the reason is that the big banks' credit cards can, for no reason other than they want to, charge up to 28% interest on their credit cards. These are the same banks that took many many billions of our tax dollars to get themselves bailed out from careless financial practices - being charged 1% interest by the government.

So they're getting money for 1% interest, and charging us 28% for credit card interest.

I found transferring my money from a big bank to a credit union easy; because we can request the beginning check number, there's no reason to start at "0001" to look as if you're new to your chosen non-big bank institution.

I am so happy I made this switch all those years ago.

By the way, when I joined, you had to qualify to be a credit union member by being an employee at certain places; most of those requirements have been rescinded - lots of credit unions do not require a specific employment to join.

I am self-employed and have never had an issue with my credit union.

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