Anyone have time to check out this credit union?

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Anyone have time to check out this credit union?

Postby 29palms » Tue Nov 20, 2012 4:11 am

Check this out. I find this financial credit union to have an outstanding web site. It has web tv, podcast, and award winning web site. NFCU doesn't even come close to this. Nor any other web site on credit unions I have seen. This financial credit union is up the street from me. I am not thinking about joining them, but I do like the way their website looks. A former teachers credit union, they seem to teach online about anything financial, just like teachers would. Or so it seems. If anyone has the time to look over their rates, and just in general what kind of institution this looks like, let me know what you think.

https://www.smartcu.org/index_home.php
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Re: Anyone have time to check out this credit union?

Postby nisiprius » Tue Nov 20, 2012 9:12 am

You're up the street from them, you're in a better situation to check them out than most of us, why not visit them? Bankrate's Safe and Sound financial safety rating: Smart Financial, three stars out of five. OK.

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Re: Anyone have time to check out this credit union?

Postby rec7 » Tue Nov 20, 2012 9:13 am

Clark Howard stays in places 3 stars and above.
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Re: Anyone have time to check out this credit union?

Postby nisiprius » Tue Nov 20, 2012 9:42 am

I think I would be cautious about using them as a source of investment advice. Their website actually gives almost no details, but the blurb says "Securities and Investment Advisory Services offered through Transamerica Financial Advisors, Inc. (TFA), Member FINRA, SIPC and Registered Investment Advisor." I betcha a nickel that only load funds are available.
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Re: Anyone have time to check out this credit union?

Postby dm200 » Tue Nov 20, 2012 10:33 am

I checked the NCUA website (www.ncua.gov) and this is a federally insured, state chartered credit union. So, your savings there would be federally insured to at least $250,000 - with ways of increasing the limit for various ownership designations.
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Re: Anyone have time to check out this credit union?

Postby 29palms » Tue Nov 20, 2012 10:33 am

Thanks for checking those out. I also see that they have over 80,000 members. Kind of deceiving when you look at the place. Looks like just a small mom and pop credit union. Great place if you are a starter or just moving into town and need a credit union close by. If their web site is any indication on how good the place actually is, I wouldn't mind joining them, only, I'm not in the market to. Interesting. I have seen them for years, but never considered checking them out. Do me a favor. From the web site you see, whom would you join if you had a choice? Alliant or Smart Financial?
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Re: Anyone have time to check out this credit union?

Postby NAVigator » Tue Nov 20, 2012 10:46 am

29palms wrote:Thanks for checking those out. I also see that they have over 80,000 members. Kind of deceiving when you look at the place. Looks like just a small mom and pop credit union.
...
Do me a favor. From the web site you see, whom would you join if you had a choice? Alliant or Smart Financial?

Did you notice that they have 16 locations?

What's with asking us if WE would join; What difference does that make? Make your own decision.

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Re: Anyone have time to check out this credit union?

Postby 29palms » Tue Nov 20, 2012 10:51 am

Ok. Allow me to rephrase. All 16 locations look like mom and pop stores.
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Re: Anyone have time to check out this credit union?

Postby rec7 » Tue Nov 20, 2012 12:56 pm

29palms wrote:Ok. Allow me to rephrase. All 16 locations look like mom and pop stores.


With a three star rating you should be ok but make sure they keep NCUA insurance. I belong to a small one in our town with only 4 branches.
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Re: Anyone have time to check out this credit union?

Postby rec7 » Tue Nov 20, 2012 1:12 pm

29palms wrote:Ok. Allow me to rephrase. All 16 locations look like mom and pop stores.


Remember a plain looking branch might be a good sign remember that is what you are buying or renting as one of the owners of the credit union. Or put in another way marble floors might mean lower CD rates and higher loan rates.
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Re: Anyone have time to check out this credit union?

Postby 29palms » Tue Nov 20, 2012 3:44 pm

True, or they could be saving on building and paying high dollar rent to skim off the top. But I doubt it. Sounds like a good one. Only advantage I see is they are right up the street. Still not enough for me to want to need to join them.
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Re: Anyone have time to check out this credit union?

Postby rec7 » Tue Nov 20, 2012 4:51 pm

I joined a local credit union six blocks from home and love it. I don't use ATM's so this is great for me. Nothing like having one super close. Remember you can always ACH money from Navy to your local one that way you have cash when you want it.
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Re: Anyone have time to check out this credit union?

Postby William4u » Tue Nov 20, 2012 7:09 pm

nisiprius wrote:You're up the street from them, you're in a better situation to check them out than most of us, why not visit them? Bankrate's Safe and Sound financial safety rating


Bankrate's rating system seem fishy to me. Many high quality credit unions get three stars, and none get 5 as far as I can tell. Alliant gets 3 stars at bankrate.com but 5 stars at http://www.bauerfinancial.com/btc_ratings.asp (the latter is the website most people have suggested here to evaluate credit unions).
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Re: Anyone have time to check out this credit union?

Postby stan1 » Tue Nov 20, 2012 7:41 pm

So again -- why do I care how many stars a bank/CU has if I have less than the FDIC/NCUA insured maximum at one of these institutions?

Rates, account options, website capability, phone service, branch locations, ATM refunds, Quicken downloads, cash back credit cards, etc. are much more important.

The only thing I could possibly see as an issue is if someone keeps large sums of money in CDs and is worried that a high long term rate could be reset if one credit union is taken over/bailed out by another.
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Re: Anyone have time to check out this credit union?

Postby rec7 » Tue Nov 20, 2012 9:03 pm

stan1 wrote:So again -- why do I care how many stars a bank/CU has if I have less than the FDIC/NCUA insured maximum at one of these institutions?



Because if it is State Chartered and drops NCUA insurance you might lose money if it fails.
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Re: Anyone have time to check out this credit union?

Postby dm200 » Tue Nov 20, 2012 9:32 pm

rec7 wrote:
stan1 wrote:So again -- why do I care how many stars a bank/CU has if I have less than the FDIC/NCUA insured maximum at one of these institutions?



Because if it is State Chartered and drops NCUA insurance you might lose money if it fails.


A state charter (in one of 9 states) dropping NCUA federal insurance is not a big risk (IMO, not a risk at all) since there is a "process" that such a credit union must go through and members receive notification of any such change. Finally, while I am a believer in federal (NCUA) insurance, privately insured state charters (in those 9 states) have been (so far, anyway) been adequately protected by the private insurance, ASI.
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Re: Anyone have time to check out this credit union?

Postby William4u » Tue Nov 20, 2012 11:39 pm

dm200 wrote:
rec7 wrote:
stan1 wrote:So again -- why do I care how many stars a bank/CU has if I have less than the FDIC/NCUA insured maximum at one of these institutions?



Because if it is State Chartered and drops NCUA insurance you might lose money if it fails.


A state charter (in one of 9 states) dropping NCUA federal insurance is not a big risk (IMO, not a risk at all) since there is a "process" that such a credit union must go through and members receive notification of any such change. Finally, while I am a believer in federal (NCUA) insurance, privately insured state charters (in those 9 states) have been (so far, anyway) been adequately protected by the private insurance, ASI.


I'm not so sure the non-NCUA are as safe, given this NYTimes article... http://www.nytimes.com/1991/01/03/busin ... all&src=pm

However, a NCUA-backed Credit Union is 100% safe (as any FDIC bank is 100% safe). 41 states only allow NCUA backed Credit Unions.

And I love the small credit unions. They can have great, personal service that can't be beat!
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Re: Anyone have time to check out this credit union?

Postby 29palms » Wed Nov 21, 2012 4:47 am

I'll stick to my military credit union. With my luck, I'll go inside a teachers credit union like Smart-Financial, and the teller lady will say something like [offensive rant removed by admin LadyGeek]
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Re: Anyone have time to check out this credit union?

Postby dm200 » Wed Nov 21, 2012 12:00 pm

William4u wrote:
dm200 wrote:
rec7 wrote:
stan1 wrote:So again -- why do I care how many stars a bank/CU has if I have less than the FDIC/NCUA insured maximum at one of these institutions?



Because if it is State Chartered and drops NCUA insurance you might lose money if it fails.


A state charter (in one of 9 states) dropping NCUA federal insurance is not a big risk (IMO, not a risk at all) since there is a "process" that such a credit union must go through and members receive notification of any such change. Finally, while I am a believer in federal (NCUA) insurance, privately insured state charters (in those 9 states) have been (so far, anyway) been adequately protected by the private insurance, ASI.


I'm not so sure the non-NCUA are as safe, given this NYTimes article... http://www.nytimes.com/1991/01/03/busin ... all&src=pm

However, a NCUA-backed Credit Union is 100% safe (as any FDIC bank is 100% safe). 41 states only allow NCUA backed Credit Unions.

And I love the small credit unions. They can have great, personal service that can't be beat!


The NY Times article cited is over 20 years old. Much has changed in those 20+ years. After that fallout of several non-federal insurance, most states then required federal insurance. Now, there are only several hundred non-federally insured credit unions. As I have posted, only 9 states allow state charters to be privately insured, and there is only ONE such insurer, ASI. I believe ASI-insured credit unions are safer than the ones in the article 20+ years ago -- BUT I do agree with you that federal insurance is the most safe (and the way I would go).
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Re: Anyone have time to check out this credit union?

Postby nisiprius » Wed Nov 21, 2012 1:42 pm

William4u wrote:
nisiprius wrote:You're up the street from them, you're in a better situation to check them out than most of us, why not visit them? Bankrate's Safe and Sound financial safety rating
Bankrate's rating system seem fishy to me. Many high quality credit unions get three stars, and none get 5 as far as I can tell. Alliant gets 3 stars at bankrate.com but 5 stars at http://www.bauerfinancial.com/btc_ratings.asp (the latter is the website most people have suggested here to evaluate credit unions).
BauerFinancial seems to grade consistently higher than BankRate. In fact it almost seems to me that Bauer grades on a 3-to-5-star-scale with 1/2-star increments.

That is, I hypothesize that Bauer stars = 2.5 + (BankRate stars) / 2. That hypothesis would predict that Smart Financial's BauerFinancial rating would be 4 stars, so let's go see.

http://www.bauerfinancial.com/btc_ratings.asp
Image

When my own small local bank was down to 1 star at BankRate and I was actually getting a little nervous, BauerFinancial was giving them 3. (Yes, that fits my formula, too).

I don't know which gives a truer picture, of course. In any case, he said "check it out," so the first thing I check is the NCUA logo, and the second is the Bankrate rating. As far as I'm concerned, 3 stars is good enough, so I didn't dig further.
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Re: Anyone have time to check out this credit union?

Postby rec7 » Wed Nov 21, 2012 2:11 pm

That's right nisiprius I look at Bankrate and weiss.
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Re: Anyone have time to check out this credit union?

Postby Easy Rhino » Wed Nov 21, 2012 2:11 pm

29palms, I don't get the enamorment with random credit unions.

I don't pick a financial institution because their website is pretty.


I recommend picking with the same criteria everyone else does. Location, value, convenience, service, NCUA insurance, pretty tellers, etc.
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Re: Anyone have time to check out this credit union?

Postby rec7 » Wed Nov 21, 2012 2:14 pm

Easy Rhino wrote:29palms, I don't get the enamorment with random credit unions.

I don't pick a financial institution because their website is pretty.


I recommend picking with the same criteria everyone else does. Location, value, convenience, service, NCUA insurance, pretty tellers, etc.


Unless the saving and loan numbers are pretty. That's what I look for along with ratings.
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Re: Anyone have time to check out this credit union?

Postby 29palms » Wed Nov 21, 2012 3:02 pm

[quote="Easy Rhino"]29palms, I don't get the enamorment with random credit unions.

I don't pick a financial institution because their website is pretty.


I recommend picking with the same criteria everyone else does. Location, value, convenience, service, NCUA insurance, pretty tellers, etc.[/quote]


Thanks for the advice. I don't nor have I ever picked a credit union based on a web site. Navy Federal I joined up before internet existed. My point was that it had an outstanding web site, (Smart-Financial.) With an informative web site, it advertises what products they offer and their rates. But it doesn't have to be a fancy web site to be a great credit union. Alot of people were complaining about PENFED's web site but obviously, they are outstanding. I agree location and convenience is a huge one, and especially service and financial soundness. Location for my NFCU is out of the question in Houston. There are none. But does it really matter today?
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Re: Anyone have time to check out this credit union?

Postby nisiprius » Wed Nov 21, 2012 3:20 pm

29palms wrote:But does it really matter today?
See this posting for a list of seven things I've needed to do at my physical bank that I can't do at my "internet bank." By the way, I was complaining about the difficulty of depositing physical checks into an online bank, and since I posted that, ING Direct has introduced the ability to upload a check image and deposit it. Pretty slick, though it only works up to $3,000, and funds availability is forever and a day.

And I'm not even including the free coffee, or the numerous small bits of community organization funding the bank does.

By the way, something happened a couple of decades or so--something changed about the laws and suddenly credit unions could enroll just about anyone, not just people who worked for a particular employer. I used to be a great big credit union fan, but it seems to me that since then, the differences between credit unions and small banks have shrunk. Does it seem that way to anyone else? I finally ditched my own credit union account because, darn it, their interest rates, which used to be a skosh higher than bank rates, declined to the point where they really weren't competitive with the small local banks.
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Re: Anyone have time to check out this credit union?

Postby 29palms » Wed Nov 21, 2012 4:12 pm

When you look back to how often you actually physically walked inside a bank to do business, that is the question. For me, I figured I rarely walked into the bank to take care of business, and when I did, I was told I could do all of that online. ok, so if that's the case, I may as well go back to my Navy federal credit union and even though they are in Virginia, use them. I still write checks for my bill paying. I don't use their online bill paying. I could but I just don't feel like doing it that way. When you have direct deposit, have a debit card, visa card, and can check it online, what more do you need to hit a bank for? If I need more than 600 dollars per day, or not have a check writing ability, maybe I'll take that physical bank.
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Re: Anyone have time to check out this credit union?

Postby Easy Rhino » Wed Nov 21, 2012 5:03 pm

nisiprius wrote:the differences between credit unions and small banks have shrunk.

depends on the institution, but yeah. Some credit unions can be just as aggressive and rapacious as a typical bank. It's just rarer.
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Re: Anyone have time to check out this credit union?

Postby rec7 » Wed Nov 21, 2012 7:20 pm

29palms what are you looking for in a credit union? checking? CD's? or loans?
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Re: Anyone have time to check out this credit union?

Postby William4u » Wed Nov 21, 2012 7:31 pm

nisiprius wrote:
29palms wrote:But does it really matter today?
See this posting for a list of seven things I've needed to do at my physical bank that I can't do at my "internet bank." By the way, I was complaining about the difficulty of depositing physical checks into an online bank, and since I posted that, ING Direct has introduced the ability to upload a check image and deposit it. Pretty slick, though it only works up to $3,000, and funds availability is forever and a day.

And I'm not even including the free coffee, or the numerous small bits of community organization funding the bank does.



Many CUs belong to "CU Services Center," which allows deposits and services at a physical, brick-and-mortar branch of other member CUs. It's like having a local branch at the many local CUs wherever you are. So there is no need for a physical bank, since most of the CUs in my area can give me all the normal brick and mortar services at their physical locations.... http://www.cuservicecenter.com/ Also, Alliant CU has scanner deposit on both the PC and smartphones. It works great. Alliant also has free deposits at a ton of ATMs.

So, right now, My personal favorite CU is Alliant, for these reasons:
1. Largest no-fee ATM network, larger than any major bank, of 80,000 ATMs (BOA only has 16,200 free ATMs). I am almost always within a mile of a free ATM. Free deposits at many of them too (a way to deposit cash). They send you deposit envelopes as well, just in case you like to mail deposits. http://www.alliantcreditunion.org/about/atms/
2. Free online scanning of checks (via PC scanner or smartphone app). No need to mail anything or leave the house to deposit. Just scan with a PC or take an iphone picture, and it immediately deposits the check.
3. Good, free billpay for all bills. Any bill can be paid with a few clicks.
4. One of the highest savings and checking account interest rates in the US. Since the checking interest rate is basically the same as the saving rate (0.8% & 0.75%), I don't worry about transferring money to checking from savings (and vice versa).
5. Free, fast ACH transfers (often same day transfers) to and from an unlimited number of other banks.
6. $200 for signing up for their rewards credit card.
7. "CU Services Center," which allows deposits and services at a brick-and-mortar branch of other member CUs... http://www.cuservicecenter.com/

Just saying. -Will
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Re: Anyone have time to check out this credit union?

Postby 29palms » Wed Nov 21, 2012 8:51 pm

[quote="rec7"]29palms what are you looking for in a credit union? checking? CD's? or loans?[/quote]

I'm not looking really hard for any more cu's. I have NFCU and PENFED, got my hands full with these. I think I have everything I need in a credit union with these guys. Just nice to compare around see what one offers that others don't. So far, hard to beat these two from what I see.
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Re: Anyone have time to check out this credit union?

Postby rec7 » Wed Nov 21, 2012 8:55 pm

29palms wrote:
rec7 wrote:29palms what are you looking for in a credit union? checking? CD's? or loans?


I'm not looking really hard for any more cu's. I have NFCU and PENFED, got my hands full with these. I think I have everything I need in a credit union with these guys. Just nice to compare around see what one offers that others don't. So far, hard to beat these two from what I see.


I think you already have the top two in the country.
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Re: Anyone have time to check out this credit union?

Postby 29palms » Wed Nov 21, 2012 9:07 pm

Navy Federal is specifically tailored to the needs of the military since they constantly get deployed and spend alot of time overseas. For the average Joe working in the USA, any close by sound credit union is sufficient enough. What makes NFCU special is the special needs the service members need. One time I was going to the Philippines, but had some issue with Navy Federal. I called them up, told them I was on my way to Philippines to please transfer over some money from Savings to Checking or vice versa, and against policy, they did it for me over the phone. (Pre-internet days.) Also, like USAA, was designed by military officers that couldn't get insurance elsewhere because they were considered a "High risk" group. If you are a civilian living in locality of anytown USA, you can use the one that will serve you best. Since I had NFCU, why change now? To me, they only just got better. Even if I don't deploy on ships anymore.
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Re: Anyone have time to check out this credit union?

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