Watch this 2 minute 15 second YouTube video to learn about the major differences between Banks vs. Credit Unions
Section 1: News update and money-saving tips
Section 2: Benefits of Credit Unions vs. Banks
Section 3: List of 4 Credit Unions for people who work in the entertainment/performing industries, including backstage workers.
Section 4: The if you have Automatic Bill Pay and Direct Deposits.
Section 1: News update and money-saving tips
: Pity the *cash-strapped* bankers for making less money on overdraft fee – in 2011, the Fat Cat bankers *only* made $31.6 Billion in overdraft fee according to this Daily Finance report.
: Avoid any Banks or Credit Unions that offer you Pay Day Loans. Read this Los Angeles Times article dated March 11, 2012 for more details about how these financial institutions are ripping people off.
: You can now submit your complaints about banking issues with the CFPB (Consumer Financial Protection Bureau) headed by Richard Cordray. The 5 categories of complaints you can submit to CFPB are: (1) Bank Account, Bank Fees & Services (2) Credit Card issues (3) Mortgage complaints (4) Student Loan issues (5) Vehicle & Consumer Loan issues. In addition, you can submit your complaints as a Confidential Informant (aka: Whistleblower). See the to the CFPB “Submit Your Complaint” section.
: If you need to buy Cashier’s Check or Money Order, try US Post Office’s Money Order. Avoid the “highway robbery charges” at the Big Banks ($10 or more). It costs less than $2 to buy US Postal Money Order in value up to $1,000. The fee is only $4.45 for International Money Order that can be cashed in 29 countries (see list in the USPS website link below). For example, if you need to buy $2,000 Domestic Money Order, you only pay $1.55 x 2 = $3.10 in fee from US Postal Money Order. See this to the USPS Postal website about Postal Money Order.
: If you need to order personal or business checks, it’s generally cheaper to get checks from mail-order check-printing companies than through the bank or credit unions (cut out the middlemen’s commissions). Pay attention to the weekly coupon in your Sunday newspapers for more mail-order check-printing companies and DISCOUNTS for FIRST-TIME customers – as low as $5.50 for 1 box of Checks. Check out: Artistic Checks, 4Checks.com, Carousel Checks, Check Gallery , Checks In The Mail, Checks Unlimited, Current Catalog Checks, Costco Checks, Designer Checks, Sam’s Club Checks, Walmart Checks.
Section 2: Benefits of Credit Unions vs. Banks.
Credit Unions are more convenient than you think. Learn the following about Credit Unions, they are actually more convenient than the Big Banks.
(1) Credit Unions (including surcharge-free ATMs at 7-Eleven, McDonald’s and many more),
(2) Thousands of Shared branches nationwide – What is Shared Branch network? If your CU is a member of Shared Branch network (aka: CU Service Center), even if you have moved from NYC to Miami, you can use human-tellers (as well as ATM) at THE OTHER Credit Unions in Miami for deposit & withdrawals as though you are still in NYC – ,
(1) Credit Union Makes You a Priority, because as a member of CU, you’re a part owner. Unlike Big Banks that have to answer to their shareholders in the stock markets.
(2) Low or Minimum Balance Requirement on Accounts
(3) Lower Fees on Banking Products
(4) Lower Interest Rates on Loans (Mortgage, Credit Cards, Auto & Personal Loans)
(5) & Account Access
(6) Some credit unions offer
(7) Secure Funds: look for
(8) Bonus Checks: Credit Union !
(9) If You’ve Been Denied Credit at banks, Credit Unions are Less Restrictive about Credit Eligibility Requirements than the Big Banks.
Section 3: List of 4 Credit Unions for people who work in the entertainment/performing industries, including backstage workers
If you work in the entertainment industry (musicians, actors, writers, backstage personnel, etc) belonging to groups/unions/guilds, check out these 3 credit unions for membership eligibility. You get more customized services due to your work affiliation: They should understand your needs better than the Big Banks. Don’t Settle for Less! Shop around for a Credit Union that fits your needs the best.
(1) Actors Federal Credit Union – check their website here. Actors FCU gets A-grade for convenience, it is a member of the Shared Branch network (aka: CU Service Centers) and a member of the CO-OP Free ATM Network.
(2) AFTRA-SAG Federal Credit Union – check their website here. As of March 6, 2012, AFTRA-SAG FCU does not appear to be a member of the Shared Branch network (aka: CU Service Center), but it is a member of the CO-OP network. .
(3) First Entertainment Credit Union – check their website here. First Entertainment CU also gets an A-grade for convenience, it is a member of Shared Branch network and a member of the CO-OP Free ATM network.
(4) Musician’s Interguild Credit Union – check their website here. Musician’s Interguild CU is a member of the CO-OP Free ATM network. Check with this CU to see if they are a member of Shared Branch network. This CU is also opened to people who live in certain zip codes in California, besides the artistic professional guild membership.
Read this piece by Amy Sohn, who is a member of the Writers’ Guild. She was so frustrated with the Big Banks that she wrote this in early 2010 why she ditched the Big Banks. Amy Sohn: Why I Joined Actors Federal Credit Union via Huffington Post, see LINK here.
Section 4: The HOW-TO guide on bank switching if you have Automatic Bill Pay and Direct Deposits.
If you have Automatic Bill Pay and Direct Deposit, see Sections 3-5 in this for the HOW-TO guide on bank switching with “To-Do” list reminders and standard forms. You may also be eligible for Community-based Credit Unions with better deals than the 3 Credit Unions listed above. Shop around for the Credit Union that best fits your needs. The Step-by-Step HOW-TO guide (see link above) has useful information on how to search for credit unions based on ZIP code/address.
Shop around for Credit Unions that best fit your needs, ask them about their Fee Schedules, the interest rates on loans and deposits, the minimum balances required to avoid fees, what ATM-network they belong to (how many surcharge-FREE ATM nationwide?), whether they are members of CU Service Centers (aka: Shared Branch network,), and whether they are members of the NCUA (similar to FDIC for banks) insuring each depositor up to $250,00o. Don’t be shy to ask the Credit Union employees to help you switch your accounts, they are there to provide service. As a member of a Credit Union, you are a part-owner of the Credit Union.
According to a Associated Press article as of October 2011, here are some of the fees the big banks will soon unveil:
• Bank of America plans to introduce a $5/month fee for making debit card purchases. (This fee has been cancelled due to PR pressure, but the Big Banks will find other ways to make up for the losses via other means).
• Beginning in December, Citi will charge $20/month to some customers who carry a balance of less than $15,000 on their combined accounts.
• Last week, Wells Fargo began charging $3/month for debit cards in five states.
• Earlier this year, JPMorgan Chase began charging a $3/month debit card fee in Wisconsin and Georgia.
• In June, SunTrust Banks of Georgia introduced a $5/month debit card fee for customers with basic checking accounts.
• Earlier this month, Regions Financial Corp. of Alabama began charging customers a $4/month fee for debit cards.
Other issues that deserve attention