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Your Take: Name Your Favorite Bank or Credit Union

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ATMThe recent economy woes have not been kind to banks. It seems like every weekend a bank is failing (over 60 so far this year) and mainstream media is piling on. Four of the thirty two companies in Consumerist Worst Company in America 2010 bracket are financial services companies. Chase, Citi, Capital One, and Bank of America, an eventual Final Four participant (though none of them stood a chance against Ticketmaster for sheer “worstness”). Slamming a bank is just too easy… but it’s also a little unfair.

Remember, for all the crap large banks take, many people would not own their homes without them. How many people locked in low interest rate mortgages they could afford and now live happily in a home they make regular payments on? We tend to focus on the bad, looking for scapegoats for our woes, when things aren’t really that bad. 10% unemployment is certainly not good, but that means 90% of people are still working.

So today, I want you know your favorite bank or credit union. It can be a local bank that is active in the community. It can be a huge megabank that treats you well. Maybe you’re a fan of PNC Bank, cited as having the most positive recommendations by marketing firm Zócalo Group and research firm M/A/R/C Research.

Who is it? Or do you have no favorite?

(Photo: catatronic)

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62 Responses to “Your Take: Name Your Favorite Bank or Credit Union”

  1. Every now and then I pause to reflect on how lucky I am to belong to North Carolina’s State Employees’ Credit Union, which I was able to join back when my wife worked for UNC Chapel Hill. They are well run, are community-oriented. One day they even told my wife that we should refinance our mortgage because it would save us money, and it did!! Credit unions are the secret that everyone should know about if they still are dealing with banks. I’m so glad I don’t belong to a bank anymore.

    • Darin says:

      Love NCSECU, we’re members since my wife’s mother is one. It’s not our everyday bank (BofA, and I’m satisfied with them for the most part) because we don’t live in NC anymore.

  2. Ally Bank is my favorite. They always had a great ACH bank-to-bank transfer service even when they were GMAC Bank. I’ve been pleased with their customer service, and they’re easy to contact 24-7 by phone, secure message or chat. Rates haven’t been the best, but they have remained very competitive.

  3. Scott says:

    My favorite bank of the past month would have to be HSBC. After running a little apples-to-apples international ATM fee test, they came out ahead of ING Direct and Bank of the West (and Wachovia and BofA too). As far as I can tell, they have the best international ATM rates out of anyone, regardless of what the banks advertise as their “real” rates.

  4. Alex Marsh says:

    If you are eligible, USAA. They have hands down the best customer service I’ve ever encountered

    • cubiclegeoff says:

      Absolutely agree with this. I don’t think I’ve ever had a less than at least good experience with their customer service. I just with their rates were better.

      • Marilyn says:

        Same here! Never any problems with USAA so I’m giving them more and more of my money unlike Ally and Ing.

  5. My favorite is my local Credit Union. They consistently have the absolute best rates I can find anywhere. They also have the best rebate credit card I could find. Plus, the customer service is great, so I like going into the buildings in person.

    My least favorite has probably been Chase. While I have made use of their services several times in the past (and am currently still a customer), I have almost never been happy with the service. I have received the absolute worst customer service from them, and when I called to complain, was essentially blown-off.

  6. cdiver says:

    My favorite Credit Union is Petagon Federal. They have always taken good care of me. Great rates too.

    • Darren says:

      Though I’m not a part of PenFed, I’d really like to be. Their card that offers 5% cash back for gas is what I’m trying to get approved for, but they seem somewhat selective. But I guess that’s a good thing, compared to banks to seem to approve anybody for a card.

      Other than that, I like Citibank because at times they’ll let you automatically increase your credit card limits.

  7. moljacks says:

    My favorite bank is Bank of America. They have always treated me well and have even saved me money. I have been with them since they were Fleet, and I am still happy.

    I also love ING Direct and have been with them happily for 5 years.

  8. Mike says:

    My favorite bank is by far Charles Schwab. I started using them because People’s United bank charged me over $100 in maintenance fees over a year, not including ATM fees. Within a week of opening my account, Schwab sent me a wealth of information, free checks, and had a personal ‘concierge’ calling my house. I’ve never been charged 1 fee by them in over a year, and never been more happy with a bank.

  9. Anthony says:

    My two favorites are Ally Bank and my local credit union, Main Street Financial.

  10. Adam says:

    My favorite is Bank of America, they are always eager to help and promote good banking practices.

  11. HuBu says:

    We use BoA for its bill pay program. BCU for its power checking.

  12. billsnider says:

    I have belonged to my local credit union for 45 years. They have always had the best savings and loan rates.

    Bill Snider

  13. Michelle says:

    BOA for online banking. Pentagon Federal for Money Market (though their rates are much lower than ING, etc), Mortgage and Auto Loans and Credit Cards. PenFed’s customer service is absolutely stellar!

  14. Ernest S. says:

    I switched from USAA to Alliant Credit Union for my banking, and it’s been great so far. The customer service is top notch (much like USAA), and their deposit interest rates are consistently high.

    Also, they offer great features such as depositing checks from home or at Vcom ATMs. The online interface is not as sharp as USAA or ING, but they are planning to overhaul the interface this summer.

  15. Marx_ says:

    Oregon Community Credit Union. Despite its ever dropping interest rate for its reward checking account, it has fantastic custer service. BECU is a close second because it has never lowered its interest rate.

  16. Nick says:

    Any credit union or local banks are going to have superior interest rates and lower fees. (well atleast until the corporate banks come in and buy them out). On the other hand if you are of the traveling sort convenience can play a big factor. As a former employee/customer of a larger bank I can tell you that opening accounts beneficial or not is engrained in the company culture. This does happen at smaller branches and credit unions as well but I can take the sales pitches with a grain of salt if my fees are lower and they actually care about my financial well being. My prediction ING/other online based banks will become more and more popular and our bigger brick and mortar banks will eventually have to submit and or join the online based banking avoiding overhead costs and thus becoming more competetive. Just a thought.

    • Marilyn says:

      “Any credit union or local banks are going to have superior interest rates and lower fees.”

      IMHO, that’s pretty far from the truth. When I was a member of a credit union, they did not have the best rates or fees, certainly not for mortgages or car loans, where credit unions always claim superiority. They only had a three branches and the savings return was nil. The customer service? Ha! I’ve never understood why people praise credit unions.

      • Tom says:

        I think you must of had a bad credit union experience. I have been with two credit unions and they offered better rates than banks when I obtained both car loans and personal loans. Of course you should shop around. There may be specials offered by banks that beat credit unions.

    • Jay says:

      @Nick: credit unions never get boughtout by banks; they are fundementally different organizations. Credit Unions are not-for-profit financial institutions that generally offer reduced fees, lower rates on loans and higher rates on deposit products (of course, this isn’t across the board). Banks are for-profit corporations that exist to make money off of you and pay that profit to their stock holders. Because of this philosophy, they (again, generally speaking) charge more/higher fees, have higher interest rates on loans and lower rates on deposit products.

      @Marilyn: I agree with Tom. My local CU is currently offering 2.8% on new auto loans (and has been offering this rate for 6 months now, so it’s not a “teaser rate”), has 37 branches and EXCELLENT service. Find another one and give credit unions another try.

  17. sdziekan says:

    I’ve been banking with Bank of America for at least 10 years. I’ve always been indifferent about banking with them vs anyone else, however, over the last 6 months they have become more customer friendly.

  18. Scott says:

    Do we really need personalized service at banks? With online banking, online bill payer and ATMs, banking no longer requires much human interaction. Of course human interaction may be required when a dispute arises, but if it isn’t resolved to your satisfaction, you move on to the next impersonal bank.
    BTW, my impersonal bank is Bank of America.

  19. ebekele says:

    My top 3:
    BofA – their various innovation initiatives
    ING – access
    NASA fed credit union – product + good to me :)

  20. Tom says:

    If you live in Orange County California, join Southland Credit Union. Very good service, checking that pays 1.5% interest, and good loan rates. Also, none of silly balance fees banks charge.

  21. CHRIS says:

    I’ve been using Navy Federal Credit Union for many years now and find that they have great products. I have had my mortgages with them and I refinance my auto with them which save me a point in interest and shaved a year off of the loan. The one issue is if you desire face to face service they are not easy to access unless you are by a naval base or a branch office.

  22. Beer says:

    USAA overall best CU or bank I’ve ever been with.

    In the Bay Area, Provident C.U. offers 2.51% on checking (with a few catches, like direct deposit, and min. 10x ATM card uses per month). ATM charges credited.

  23. Lynn A. says:

    New England Federal Credit Union in Vermont.

    BTW: My deceased father worked for Bank of America (for 40+ years, retiring as a Regional VP) when it really was Bank of America, a California-only bank. What that corporation is now is Nations Bank with a purchased new name on their letterhead that looks & sounds better.

    BofA-now is not the same bank and I will not do business with this phony bank. Bank of America started in the wake of the San Francisco earthquake by A.P.Giannini. The BofA-now ads telling how they did things in the 1800s … those are NOT things Bank of America did ! False advertising should never be excused.

    • Frank says:

      I love New England Federal Credit Union. They have great people working there and they don’t nickel and dime you to death with fees :) I have been a member for over 10 years.

  24. cdiver says:

    I see a lot of comments for Bank of America. My experience with them in multiple locations has always been bad. Long lines, bad service.

  25. cdiver says:

    Fairwinds Credit Union


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