Felix Salmon

Changing banks

By Felix Salmon
December 30, 2009

Should people move their money from the big four commercial banks to smaller community banks? Arianna Huffington is making a big push, but I’ll believe it when I see it: moving banks is hard, and people are lazy.

The one thing I would urge though is that if you are moving your money out of BofA/Chase/Citi/Wells, that you strongly consider not only smaller banks but also local credit unions as a place to move your money to. The moveyourmoney.info website is happy to give me a list of local banks including Mitsubishi UFJ (no one’s idea of a small community bank), but doesn’t list any credit unions at all. Here’s a tool to help you find one. If you’re going to go to the hassle of switching away from the big banks, then at least make sure you’ve explored all the options.

8 comments so far | RSS Comments RSS

Why is it hard to move your account to a new bank? You open an account at a new bank and then stop writing checks on your old account, and a month or two later, close the old account. What is so hard about that?

Posted by OnTheTimes | Report as abusive

Nothing is hard about it OnTheTimes, until you make some minor error in switching over one of your many auto-pay set ups and end up getting slammed with ridiculous late fees from some credit card or utility company.

Posted by pickandroll | Report as abusive

pickandroll, I have done just that, and it was worth it to get rid of my BofA account.

Posted by OnTheTimes | Report as abusive

If you’re serious about your money, you have to be willing to invest more than two clicks in deciding where to put it. True, though, that’s about all the time it takes to realize there has to be a better banking choice than BofA.

The rest is up to you.

Posted by HBC | Report as abusive

Felix, I’m a long-time reader. Thanks for the post. If consumers want another tool to help them locate a credit union, they can use http://www.culookup.com. (Disclaimer, that web site is sponsored by my employer’s subsidiary. But that aside, I think it is fairly effective.)

Posted by Ademanaonge | Report as abusive

Felix, you’re right on target with regards to credit unions. Check out the campaign called Bank With Texans (http://bankwithtexans.org/) that was profiled in The New York Times recently. It was started by Texas Dow Employees Credit Union. http://www.nytimes.com/2009/11/02/busine ss/media/02adco.html

Posted by DollarCents | Report as abusive

Thanks, Felix, for taking note of credit unions. As not-for-profit co-ops, their rates are generally better and fees lower than banks of all stripes. Good to see that a number of commenters are making this point on the Huffington Post site as well. There are DataTrac daily bank vs credit union average rate comparisons and a credit union locator tool, the most comprehensive in the industry actually, at http://www.creditunion.coop (click on “locate a credit union”).

Posted by mwolff | Report as abusive

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