The People's $$$
July 16, 2008 12:27 PM   Subscribe

Are there national Credit Unions? If you move, how does one access funds/do money management at a Credit Union when there's no branches of that Credit Union in your new state?

I'd like to switch from a bank to a Credit Union. I'm not unhappy with my bank (BoA), but the hippie in me likes the idea of credit unions more. So, I've been meaning to switch anyways, and the bank scares have given me an impetus to do so.

The Credit Unions that I'm looking at (BECU and First Tech) do not have branches in California. But, I have to do something with this CD in the next two weeks, if I want to cash it out without penalty. I'd need access to ATMs, etc. as it'd turn into my main bank. I'd also like to be able to walk in to do banking if need be (if I want to open CDs and the like).

So, what does one do in this situation? I already checked, and I'm not eligible for USAA.
posted by spinifex23 to Work & Money (15 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
You... don't.

I mean, some credit unions have arrangements with other credit unions for things like fee-free ATM withdrawls. And many banking transactions can be dealt with over the phone, or online. But as a rule, if you move, you get a different credit union - just as if you had a bank that lacked convenient branches to your new location. (At least, that's my understanding as a non-credit-union-using consumer.)
posted by Tomorrowful at 12:36 PM on July 16, 2008

We kept our credit union back in Madison, WI when we moved to Portland. For us, we do everything online or by mail. If I need money out, I tend to go to a grocery store and buy something small that I need and then do cash over so that I don't have any ATM fees.
posted by ugf at 12:42 PM on July 16, 2008

My wife used to work for DEC and is a member of the DCU even though it has no branches here in Rochester, NY. She does all her normal activities via the web or by phone. There are a couple of local credit unions that allow no-fee use of their ATMs so gettting cash is never an issue. We're even taking out a home equity line of credit (signing the paperwork tonight) from them, done mostly via phone and fax. DEC had offices all over the country so they were used to members not being near a physical branch but I would imagine there are other credit unions willing to work like that as well. Ask around.
posted by tommasz at 12:43 PM on July 16, 2008

My Credit Union's hours don't line up with my life, but I've been able to make it work. My work check is direct deposited into my account, and place's like Walgreen's or Target can be used like a nearly no fee ATM (within limits). Just make sure your ATM card is on a decent national network.

The only time is it an issue is if we get a check from someone.
posted by drezdn at 12:46 PM on July 16, 2008

Even deposits might not be an issue if you can find an ATM in your area that still takes deposits for any account.
posted by drezdn at 12:48 PM on July 16, 2008

The Co-op network of credit unions.
posted by 517 at 1:03 PM on July 16, 2008

If you're in Southern California, try Wescom. I've been with them for a few years and been more than than satisfied.
posted by platinum at 1:05 PM on July 16, 2008

I moved from Seattle to Orlando six years ago, and never changed my credit union. I have a local credit union right around the corner from me that is in the co-op network with mine, so on the rare occasion when I need deposit a check I just go there. Everything else I do via direct deposit and online banking. Couldn't be happier.
posted by Lokheed at 1:05 PM on July 16, 2008

My credit union is in Spokane Washington. I have never seen it. I got the account because, as a graduate of a Washington State college, and a Seattle resident [at the time] I was eligible for an account. I fell in love with their online banking and amazing customer service and have kept them even though I moved to Vermont full-time about seven years ago. I can get money out of particpating co-op network ATMs, but usually I just suck it up and pay the $1.50 to go to the nearest ATM which I do maybe once a month. I also got a local bank account that I keep for instances where I want to give someone a check that will clear in less than five days but I only keep a small amount in it.
posted by jessamyn at 2:02 PM on July 16, 2008

Most credit unions are members of Co-op or some other sort of shared deposit/withdrawal thingy (on the back of my BECU debit card I see Northwest Credit Union Alliance). As long as your CU is a member of one of those networks, you shouldn't have any problems withdrawing at another member branch/ATM, as long as it's a checking or savings account. Not every CU is a member of said networks though (I found this out the hard way when I stopped off at a random CU ATM in New York). I don't know about CDs and such though. Why don't you call the CUs you're considering and ask them?

(PS. BECU is awesome. Their rewards account isn't as good as say, Verity or Watermark, but I'm very satisfied with them.)
posted by calistasm at 2:08 PM on July 16, 2008

I've been banking with First Tech sense I was 12 (I'm 29). I moved to Utah to goto collage 10 years ago and am still using them. I use online banking, make my deposits at ATM's, and when I need to use a branch I can go into any credit union and they will help me as if I was their customer. They are the best bank in the world.
posted by itsamonkeytree at 2:31 PM on July 16, 2008

Thanks all. I still would like more feedback, but I may just go talk to First Tech next week.
posted by spinifex23 at 2:35 PM on July 16, 2008

Definitely call BECU & First Tech and see what they have to say. (If anything else, it'll give you a good chance to check out their member service.)

As mentioned, most credit unions belong to one shared branching network or another, where you can do transaction in addition to the usual ATM withdrawal stuff. BECU and First Tech are both participants in CU Swirl; here's a map/list of all the locations in CA that are also in that network.

I've found anecdotally that many CUs don't charge ATM fees to anybody, so that's something to look for if you are just looking for cash.

Oddly enough, I was just putting an article about Shared Branching into the email newsletter for the credit union where I work. (We're in that same network.) I'm not a financial expert, just a webmaster, but if there's anything CU-related that I can help with, go ahead & send me a MeMail. :)

I've been a big fan of credit unions even before I started working at one!
posted by epersonae at 2:46 PM on July 16, 2008

CU Service Center for shared branching and what it's all about. 3,379 credit unions across the country have an arrangement to process deposits, withdrawals, etc for each other.
posted by Robert Angelo at 3:55 PM on July 16, 2008

Update: Thanks all for the help! After looking at both First Tech and BECU, I decided to go with BECU, and I opened an account earlier this week.
posted by spinifex23 at 10:11 AM on August 1, 2008

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