Where should I put my money?
March 21, 2013 2:22 PM   Subscribe

I'm looking for an ethical, user-friendly bank in New Haven, CT.

Requirements & Preferences:
1. Ethical—no wasted bailout money, no predatory lending, pays their taxes, etc. (I currently use Amalgamated Bank in NY, but they don't exist in Connecticut)
2. Online Banking—must have at least the ability to view (ideally realtime) balances and make transfers online.
3. ATMs or branches—I'll need to be able to access a branch to deposit checks periodically, but it doesn't have to be super conveniently located. ATMs that I can use, however, need to be easy to find (this can mean that they refund ATM fees, have a network of ATMs, or just have a lot of their own locations).
4. Free checking—This should not include a minimum balance if at all possible. If it does include one, it should be really low. Same deal with savings.
5. Direct Deposit—That should exist.
6. Check Clearance—I don't want it to take forever to clear checks. If there's a provisional period in the beginning where it takes a long time, that's alright.
posted by cheerwine to Work & Money (13 answers total)
Have you looked at Simple? They don't have branches to deposit checks, but if you've got a smartphone you can do photo deposit, and the majority of the check is available immediately. I've been super-happy with them; they provide great budgeting tools, they keep delivering new features, and their customer support is awesome.

It's still invite-only at the moment. MeMail me if you'd like an invite, or if you're curious about how they do things.
posted by duien at 2:43 PM on March 21, 2013

I have had nothing but good experiences with Connex since switching when my bank got bought out.
posted by cobaltnine at 2:43 PM on March 21, 2013

posted by The corpse in the library at 3:07 PM on March 21, 2013 [4 favorites]

USAA fits all your requirements. Go!

No branches, but they waive your ATM fees.
posted by signondiego at 3:44 PM on March 21, 2013

Not to threadsit, but I forgot to mention: Credit unions are also welcome, but I don't know that I'd qualify for many. I've only lived in CT for a couple of weeks, my job is with a non-profit political organization (501c-4), I don't belong to any religious groups, and no one in my family is a veteran or government employee.
posted by cheerwine at 3:55 PM on March 21, 2013

You qualify for USAA, their banking services are open to anyone. They are online only, but you can deposit checks on mobile devices, with a scanner, at local UPS stores or used their pre-paid envelopes. ATMs give rebate for withdrawals. Free checking (with interest!). They took no bailout money, have fantastic customer service, and are big enough to provide all the services of a national bank but at cut-rate price. They are a non-profit as well. It's really hard for me to think of a person who should be using any other bank.
posted by skewed at 4:15 PM on March 21, 2013 [1 favorite]

If you have a utility bill with your new address or paycheck from your place of work with address and it's in New Haven, Hartford or Middlesex County, you're good for Connex. It's a really low bar to entry for some of these these days.
posted by cobaltnine at 4:23 PM on March 21, 2013

I love love love USAA, more than my local credit union even, they're great! Their app is super handy too, I can deposit checks from my phone which makes me feel like I should be in some futurists movie.
posted by julie_of_the_jungle at 4:28 PM on March 21, 2013 [1 favorite]

USAA is awesome, but you might want to check out Start Bank in New Haven. I don't know much about their services, but they were set up to be a hyper local ethical community bank a few years back.
posted by Unioncat at 6:46 PM on March 21, 2013

My sister and I have been members of Sikorsky Credit Union since we were kids depositing paper route money, and my parents have been members since my dad started working at Sikorsky in the 70's. (He recently retired from there.) We've all had various loans from them (personal, auto, mortgage, etc). I have a retirement account set up with them. We all have nothing but great things to say about them, and my favorite thing: a PERSON picks up when you call! And they're really nice.

They're based in Stratford (exit 52 off the Merritt), closest branch to New Haven is Milford, on the Post Road just east of the CT Post Mall.

Their eligibility requirements are as follows:

"Sikorsky Credit Union is open to anyone who lives, works, worships or volunteers in Fairfield, New Haven or Hartford County of Connecticut (and also the towns of New Milford and Bridgewater in Litchfield County). Membership also extends to immediate family or household members."

I now live in NYC, so if I need to deposit a check, I have to mail it in to them (or I'll mail it to my dad to deposit for me, he doesn't believe in ATM cards and so he's at the Credit Union a couple times a month). I've found this very slight hassle to be well worth it.
posted by AlisonM at 7:13 PM on March 21, 2013

I'm a fan of Nutmeg State Credit Union. You're eligible to join if you live or work in Hartford County, Middlesex County, or Tolland County. They're part of the SUM network of ATM machines, have online banking and an iOS app.
posted by FreezBoy at 5:17 AM on March 22, 2013

Last I checked, USAA offers the photo check deposit only for people who are also using their insurance as well as banking, and insurance is only open to military members and their families. Unfortunately, it makes their banking a much less compelling offering, even though they are an awesome company.
posted by duien at 2:33 PM on March 23, 2013

Ah, I didn't know that. To use USAA's deposit@home you must "be eligible for USAA auto or property insurance and meet other qualifications based on your account history with USAA Bank," and in order to be eligible for their insurance you have to be in one of the groups listed here.
posted by The corpse in the library at 3:41 PM on March 23, 2013

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