How do I choose a credit union?

So I’m in a financially reflective mood today, and I am considering taking the advice of the “are there any banks that aren’t scum?” thread and switching from Wachovia to a local credit union. The only problem is, there are a zillion of them in Memphis. I’m pretty sure we could get into the teacher’s credit union, but how do I know which is best? Does it even matter once I get away from commercial banks?

Same as you would choose a bank, I would guess. What kind of interest do you get to open a saving account? What kinds of fees are you charged to do what? Etc.

Not as much. There’ll be some variance in interest, fees, etc., but basically, you can trust a credit union not to fuck you, which is the whole advantage. You should probably look more at things like number/convenience of locations, hours of operation, the range of services they offer, and things like that.

One item to watch out for is if you use ATM’s. I use cards and/or get cashback at groceries so I don’t worry about that. Most CU’s are part of a network of ATM’s and you can see where they’re located. The other items to look at are locations and times that it’s open (if you don’t have direct deposit).

Funny, I’m going to Wachovia today to get a home equity loan because my too fussy CU turned me down. (Just so you know, my income is SSI disability which can’t be guaranteed for two years which is what they want). They also are only paying 2.7% on savings accounts which seems low and I would think you could get better with a commercial bank teaser rate.

I would look carefully at their fee structures and interest rates charged. They don’t necessarily ‘not fuck you over’ because it depends on their fees. They charge for bounced checks, have (IMO) barely competitive loans etc.

I would not expect anything better from a non profit than a for profit bank honestly. I’ve been with my CU for 27 years and they still treated me like someone off the street when I had this issue with my home equity, so color me unimpressed. Wachovia offers a home equity with no income verification as long as you credit score is 750 or more, which mine is. My home is owned free and clear also, so no problem there.

In the end, it depends on what you are looking for, but I really wouldn’t expect miracles.