Should You Favor a Credit Union Over Your Current Bank?
BY DEBBIE DRAGON
You may have accepted your bank for the last few years because nothing new has come up in your personal financial life. But if you have recently been to your local branch office to talk about getting a loan or have noticed a lot more fees on your latest statement, it may be time to consider moving on.
Many consumers forget to keep tabs on their bank and as a result they fail to realize the added fees and the lessening of services since new regulations were enforced by the federal government. As banks began to lose profits when the new laws changed the way they can collect fees, banks had little choice but to change the banking experience customers had come to rely on. There are rarely any banks advertising free checking accounts and no one is giving away complimentary toasters.
Taking the Blinders Off
If you have not previously considered how your bank has changed or what it is costing you, it is advisable to start paying attention. The bank has your money and it is your responsibility to know exactly what is happening to your cash. Start by reviewing your bank statements for the last several months and be sure to highlight the fees your accounts are costing you each month. Some banks are still pretty reasonable about these fees but some have really watered down their services while upping their fees — requiring more work to avoid them.
Start Looking Around
If you come to the unfortunate conclusion that your bank is no longer affordable for your financial situation, don’t delay in starting your homework. Go online and shop for better offers. Compare local community banks and other major banks to see what else is out there. Keep notes about trends you are seeing in the banking industry including interest rates, fees, and services other banks are offering their customers. Also check on the many special offers banks are putting out there to get your business. Not all may be appropriate or appealing to you but it can be an added incentive to make the switch.