Credit Unions

in Bank, Bank Fees, Banks, Frugality

Given that for now I am still a telecommunications employee I can join the Telecommunication Technologies Credit Union (this is not a promotion for them, nor am I being paid to mention them, this is me querying my readership). This Credit Union has ATMs on campus where I work, and thus if I need money I must use their machines (or drive to find a TD Canada trust machine).

As a bit of history about 10 years ago, CIBC was on campus and their ATMs were on site. They had a no charge banking deal back then, so I opened a bank account with them, where I put some “mad money” (usually no more than $50.00) where if I needed money and I was at work, I could withdraw it without incurring any extra service fees. This worked quite well, and then when CIBC played the dirtier trick of “out sourcing” their ATM machines, it was even better, because then I paid no service charges, but if I tried to take money out of my TD account, I got nailed with a $1.50 charge from TD, and CIBC nailed me with a $2.00 fee for it being a “White” ATM machine (and not a CIBC machine). You wonder why I invest in banks, they are just so darn EVIL!

Now I have the option to open an account with the Credit Union, which I almost did last week, since they seem to offer “no fee” banking so I was going to go back to my old “Work” account concept, except, the Credit Union has an interesting twist for new customers. I must be a “member” of the Credit Union, thus I must buy a share in the Credit Union (I think this is standard practice with Credit Unions), and this share costs $220. If I ever leave the Credit Union, this money is refunded to me, and it evidently earns a dividend of some sort every year as well.

This leaves me in a quandary, do I pay the $220 set up fee to have a convenience account for me to save $3.00 a month or so in service fees, or do I just get some “intestinal fortitude” and simply not take money out of my bank accounts willy nilly (and instead take out the money I need for two weeks in 1 block, and when it is gone, it is gone)? The Credit Union does not have a lot of ATMs around Ottawa, so thinking of them as an option to move ALL my banking to is not really “on” either, although they do seem to have some good services as well.

I can guess a few of my friends answers, but I am curious to hear what my readers think would be the better thing to do in this situation.

 

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{ 6 comments }

{ 6 comments… add one }
  • nancy (aka money coach) May 15, 2008, 1:16 AM

    Citizens Bank (my employer) is owned by a credit union – Vancity, which has a membership fee of only $5. Here’s the important thing – you should get the equivalent of dividends on your share. Ask what has been paid out over the past few years to give you a sense of ROI. $220 does seem startlingly steep (eg. compared to Vancity) so there may be genuine benefits that you don’t know about yet. I’d pursue it.

    Reply
  • Gene May 14, 2008, 11:02 PM

    I personally wouldn’t pay $220 to join the credit union since it’s not all that convenient outside of work, like you mention. Take a lesson from my mistakes: I have too many bank accounts. I should close most of them to make estate planning easier and simplify. I’m a sucker for incentive offers to open accounts, but now I’ve got little bits of money all over the place.

    As for estate planning, I’ve dragged my feet on that one. As a married father, I really should have a will, but I don’t. I guess it’s a mixture of denial and laziness.

    Reply
  • BigCajunWife May 13, 2008, 8:12 AM

    Um, NO. My point is having to get in a car and go to your own bank’s ATM to withdraw money might make you think about if you really need the money, or just want the money. In my mind $220 is a steep price for “convenience”

    Reply
  • Anonymous May 12, 2008, 1:33 PM

    You need an ATM machine in your house?

    Reply
  • BigCajunWife May 12, 2008, 12:52 PM

    Unless you are willing to install an ATM in our house for my convenience. Hmmmmm, let me think for a moment. NO!

    BigCajunWife

    Reply
  • Jerry Hung May 12, 2008, 10:11 AM

    Since you get the money back, I’d go for it, for the convenience. $220 doesn’t earn you much interest anyway, nor buy stocks

    I felt weird when I had to join/pay Desjardins $5 for my mortgage with them, but I’d do it to get the best rate 🙂

    Reply

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