Looking for a New Financial Institution? Consider These Factors First.
Choosing a financial institution is like dating. You establish a relationship with a bank (probably because your parents wanted you to) at a young age, and then it goes south. A “deposit was wrongly entered into someone else’s account” here, a “ridiculously overpriced checking account fee” there, and then, worst of all, your bank acts like you don’t exist. You get fed up and decide to break up. How do you choose?
Credit Unions like American Eagle make the decision pretty easy, in my humble opinion. Regardless, you should thoroughly research your options before making the switch. Here’s a few things you might not have considered:
- Pay attention to online reviews: Regardless of how good any business is, snafus will happen. People tend to remember the very good and the extremely bad, and these experiences often end up online via review sites like Yelp! or social media pages. If you’re interested in establishing a relationship with a new financial institution, check out their Facebook page and see how they handle negative complaints. If they don’t say anything, that might be a sign of a bad seed. If they go above and beyond to fix a negative experience, take the experience in itself with a grain of salt. Like I said, snafus happen anywhere; it’s the fixing that’s important.
- Compare account fees: Look, I’m not telling you how to spend your hard-earned money, but in this day and age, you deserve better. If you open a “high-yield” savings account at a bank that earns $10 per year but have to pay $10 per month, what’s the point? The average consumer pays $15 for a checking account and $4 for ATM fees. If this doesn’t sound appealing, you might want to look elsewhere (read: at a credit union).
Related Post: Things to Spend Money on Other Than Bank Fees
Compare interest rates: You’re going to have a long relationship with a financial institution. Think about all the life events you’re going to experience in the next 20 years. When you buy a new car, a house, or want to open a savings account for your first kid, wouldn’t you rather have the ease of doing all your financial business at one place? Think about this when you’re looking for a new financial institution. Check out historical loan rates. Do they tend to stay below industry average, or do they inflate just because they can?
On the other hand, how do their savings and checking account rates look? Granted, in this rate environment, most financial institutions have low rates, but some are definitely much higher than others.
This is why credit unions are so great. They recycle profits back to the member in the form of higher yields and lower rates. You really can’t beat that.
Lastly, let’s talk about corporate social responsibility. Ahh, how millennial of me. But CSR is important. Credit Unions lend only in the areas they serve, so chances are, the interest you pay on your auto loan will pay for a community member’s college degree. Business is focused sustainably and long-term instead of quarterly. I think that’s pretty darn responsible. For a more in-depth look at this, check out this awesome site: makeyourmoneymatter.org.
Do you have a story about switching financial institutions? We’d love to hear all about it. Comment below or tweet us your thoughts at @AmEagleCU!