Looking for the best bank in America? Don’t look at any of the bigs like Bank of America, Chase, Well Fargo, or Citibank.
Long-time listeners know I have a disdain for giant monster mega-banks. And I’m not alone in my feelings, according to The New York Times; a new Harris survey finds of all industries, banking has the lowest rating except for the tobacco companies.
Playing off that widespread disdain are a couple of TV spots being run by small Midwestern bank Associated Bank. Their ad campaign makes fun of banking’s bureacratic culture, customer no-service, and more.
Take a look at these spots to see what I’m talking about.
As you can see, this is a humorous way to poke fun at big banks.
So here’s the deal: The smaller a financial institution is, the more likely it is to serve your needs. The bigger it is, the more likely you are to get customer no-service!
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An alternative to the big banks
It’s often been said that there are no free lunches. But I think that credit unions come pretty darn close.
I have been a member of four different credit unions over the years. I first learned about them in the early 1970s while working as a civilian employee in the Air Force. At the time, I overheard an officer speaking about the great loan rates the credit union offered and I had to check it out for myself.
What exactly is a credit union? It’s like a bank in which you can be a shareholder. In other words, you own the place!
Membership is basically available to anyone, based on where you live or what profession you have. There’s a nominal fee to become a member and once you join, it’s like you take a step up to the “mezzanine” of the financial world with a ton of great products at your disposal.
For example, my credit union offers car loans at 1.59 percent interest to those with good credit at the time of this writing. Home equity loans are available at 4 percent for five years.
With credit unions, you have access to all the usual services you would with a giant bank, including ATM cards, savings instruments like CDs, and more. And while credit unions may still have rip-off charges for overdrafts on your savings or checking accounts, they’re usually lower than elsewhere.
Customer service is outstanding with most credit unions — with some limited exceptions. The one thing you don’t get with a credit union is convenience. Credit unions typically don’t have as many branches as the giant monster mega-banks and they may be fewer and farther in between.
Visit FindACreditUnion.com to find a credit union to join.