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Zeppy
09-09-2008, 05:39 PM
Hi, I wasn't sure where to put this thread, but here it goes.

I'm a soon to be college student. I barely graduated from high school, and am going to college in California. I don't have a bank account yet but am currently looking to open one. There's a couple here, like Bank of America, Wells Fargo, Washington Mutual, Citibank, some Asian banks (like Cathy Bank), and credit unions.

So I was wondering if you guys can help me find a bank or a credit union that will benefit me the most.

Thanks and best regards.

angharad
09-09-2008, 06:29 PM
It's a bit easier to go with a larger bank, because it's easier to find ATMs and such even when you travel. If you have an issue with them, though, you have to go through a much larger customer service network to get help. Beyond that, sit down and read the different types of accounts for each bank you're looking at. Some offer free checking, some require a minimum monthly balance, most offer account linking.

A bit of personal advice: Open both a savings account and a checking account, if there's no minimum balance and they can be linked. It can be a lot easier to manage money when you only have X amount in your checking account, but a safety net in your savings account.

As for individual banks, I refuse to use Bank of America after the problems I had with them. I have run into a few people that really like them, but most that I've talked to dislike BA.

Rob_C
09-09-2008, 06:48 PM
I would recommend Wash Mutual, even though they've become more and more like the big banks, ie Wells, BofA. Their accounts come with overdraft protection starting at $200. which increases as your acct remains open. They have alot of branches, and I've noticed that it seems they tend to place them near Wells & BofA branches. They also offer free services to acct holders such as Cashiers Checks, Notary.

FatLazyDonkey IamAJoke
09-09-2008, 06:51 PM
Just wait till you get to school. Most if not all schools have banks and atms all over the campus. Open a student account with checking and savings. Usually there is an overdraft protection for student accounts. You are going to live on campus right?

raiden031
09-09-2008, 07:00 PM
Also try to make sure you have two credit card accounts opened so that you can establish credit. Thats very important.

zapvor
09-09-2008, 07:42 PM
credit unions are better if you want to invest because tehy offer high rates usually. also if you need a loan they give better rates too. large banks as others said have more atms, so for students thats good. do some research.

CanadianChic
09-09-2008, 07:59 PM
I personally would open up an account with a local credit union first. They are more customer service oriented and tend to have much better rates. As for ATM's, you can use your debit card in any ATM so that's not really an issue. It only becomes an issue if you make frequent withdrawals as most banks/unions tend to charge higher service fees for using the service when the ATM is of a different bank than you belong to. As for the credit cards, I would recommend getting one as well (one should be enough to start) but never put more on it within a month than you are able to pay off. Too many people get carried away (especially in electronics and furniture stores) and make major purchases which they have difficulty paying down the road. Remember that it is easy to establish credit, but much more difficult and necessary of responsibility to establish GOOD credit. Good luck.

SoBad
09-10-2008, 07:06 PM
Considering the current economic environment in the U.S. and increasing bank failures as well as risks of more bank failures, I would suggest spreading your funds amongst several banks. For instance, use one for convenience (ATM nearby), one for safety (bank not heavily exposed to mortgage risks), and one that is new (and therefore motivated to provide good service). Remember that FDIC insurance is only as good as implicit re-insurance by Treasury of FDIC itself.

zapvor
09-10-2008, 08:02 PM
Considering the current economic environment in the U.S. and increasing bank failures as well as risks of more bank failures, I would suggest spreading your funds amongst several banks. For instance, use one for convenience (ATM nearby), one for safety (bank not heavily exposed to mortgage risks), and one that is new (and therefore motivated to provide good service). Remember that FDIC insurance is only as good as implicit re-insurance by Treasury of FDIC itself.

hahaha. i love the commentary

max
09-11-2008, 12:42 AM
I'm on the board of my local credit union. It's interesting to me that we've seen deregulation taking place among savings and loans (then a big collapse) and now the mortgage industry (and then a big collapse).

Credit unions are cooperatives. This means you become a part owner. Credit unions usually have extremely good rates and better than average service for its members. Many credit unions disburse their dividends by offering lower rates on car loans, mortgages, bank services, etc.

If you're going to a large school, you may already find one on campus.

Zeppy
09-11-2008, 03:47 PM
Wow. Haha, thanks for all the advice.

For credit unions, do they have atms? Or will I get charged for using another bank's atm? And would they have the same services as a bigger bank would have?

Considering the current economic environment in the U.S. and increasing bank failures as well as risks of more bank failures, I would suggest spreading your funds amongst several banks. For instance, use one for convenience (ATM nearby), one for safety (bank not heavily exposed to mortgage risks), and one that is new (and therefore motivated to provide good service). Remember that FDIC insurance is only as good as implicit re-insurance by Treasury of FDIC itself.

What does that mean? I know that the FDIC guarantees that you'll get back up to a certain amount if the bank fails, but I don't get the statement above.

max
09-12-2008, 06:13 AM
Our credit union has a number of ATMs. I would think you should contact the CU to see what their terms are.

Credit Union accounts are supported and backed, in a fashion similar to FDIC, by NCUA, a similar federal agency for CUs. So your money's safe.

The nice thing is that profits go back to members, not to bank stockholders, so generally things are a bit nicer all around for a CU member. ("Member" is the term for customer, since you become a CU owner when you join).

SoBad
09-15-2008, 06:09 PM
hahaha. i love the commentary

Thank you! How is everything going? Did you stash away your mils in Singapore, or what are you up to these days? When are you coming to Sakhalin to help me straighten this place out?

What does that mean? I know that the FDIC guarantees that you'll get back up to a certain amount if the bank fails, but I don't get the statement above.

There is a chain of guarantees for US bank deposits, but it is unclear what assets remain under control of the guarantors to back up those promises.

Mike Bulgakov
09-16-2008, 10:07 PM
SoBad is right about trust in the FDIC. The FDIC cannot support the probable level of U.S. bank failures. Nevertheless, the Treasury can print U.S. dollars at will, so most FDIC backed dollars may survive, but possibly at a disconcerting value.

A mitigating factor is that this is a global crisis, and all currencies are at risk. Russia looked good months ago with the high oil and commodity prices, but the dominoes are falling with contagion from the financials and the commodity drop. London, Europe, Japan and China are also in the financial domino path. India is currently having very serious problems.

Should anyone be interested, here are a few articles:

http://www.itar-tass.com/eng/level2.html?NewsID=13079815
MOSCOW, September 16 (Itar-Tass) -- Quotations of the majority of Russian blue chips dipped by 8% to 30.6% on Tuesday. The liquidity problem and a series of bankruptcies on the Western financial market triggered a Russian market meltdown unprecedented since the 1998 crisis.

http://www.themoscowtimes.com/article/600/42/370983.htm
Markets Post Record Single-Day Losses
17 September 2008By Tim Wall, Tai Adelaja / Staff WritersThe ruble-denominated MICEX Index fell by 17.5 percent Tuesday, a single-day record, as the country's oil-driven stock market was severely battered by the global economic hurricane spreading from the United States.

The dollar-denominated RTS fell by 11.5 percent to 1131.1 points, wiping nearly $80 billion from the market value of the country's leading companies in just one trading session. More than $750 billion has been lost since May.

Trade on both exchanges had to be temporarily suspended late Tuesday afternoon as shares appeared to be going into free fall. When trading resumed briefly on the MICEX, it slumped still further to 865.16 points before closing at 881.17 points, nearly 190 points off its opening level.

http://search.japantimes.co.jp/cgi-bin/nb20080917a1.html

If the FOMC does not lower interest rates, U.S. stock prices will drop further, endangering some Japanese financial institutions and forcing the Bank of Japan to quickly increase fund supplies to the market, Hayashi suggested.

Also, if U.S. stock prices and the dollar go lower, governments might jointly intervene by buying the greenback and selling yen, Hayashi said.

Despite appearances, however, not all is doom and gloom, according to Hayashi.

Market fears could further push down already declining crude oil prices, which had been boosted by speculative investment, producing some positive effects on the world economy, he suggested.

http://www.guardian.co.uk/business/2008/sep/17/hbosbusiness.bankofenglandgovernor

The City's financial watchdog last night sought to shore up confidence in Britain's biggest mortgage lender, HBOS, after a 40% fall in the bank's share price following two days of market turbulence caused by the collapse of Lehman Brothers.

After a second day of sharp share falls in HBOS, the government was ready to activate longstanding contingency plans to ensure financial stability.

max
09-17-2008, 09:01 AM
I don't use ATM machines, but I checked, and our CU does not charge fees to its members for use our our ATMs.

But of course, policies will differ per institution.

max
09-19-2008, 08:50 AM
Here's something good:
----------------------------------------------------------

CNN, Forbes on CUs: 'Grab them while you can'

ATLANTA (9/19/08)--"If there's a calm in the economic storm, it may be credit unions, whose investors are sleeping through the night," reported Susan Lisovicz of CNN Thursday during an interview with Neil Weinberg, senior editor of Forbes Magazine.

"We've had mergers and bailouts and a lot of us are nervous. Tell us why we should take a second look or in some instances a first look at credit unions," asked Lisovicz, amid banner headlines that said, "Credit unions weather rough seas."

Weinberg's answer focused on two reasons why "credit unions are a safe harbor":

* Credit unions are operated as a "stable and profitable business, taking deposits from you and me through our savings and checking accounts, and lending out money for car loans, which earns a spread that is profitable."

* Most credit union accounts are federally insured by the government up to $100,000.

"They tend to be conservatively managed and federally insured, which in this day and age is what you want," advised Weinberg.

He explained that through lobbying in Washington, credit unions have "managed to open the doors of membership quite a bit" and in many cases a person related to someone in an affinity group can join a credit union.

"You want to jump on board," Weinberg advised.

When asked what is it about credit unions that doesn't lead to the same kind of forecast for other commercial institutions, Weinberg said credit unions haven't got into the same trouble as commercial banks that specialized in mortgages and made risky home loans.

"Typically, credit unions have federal charters and federal inspectors, with strict, tougher rules. Because they began as agricultural cooperatives, they are run conservatively. You want to go for those credit unions."

"I got the message," said the Lisovicz. "You want to go for a credit union. Grab them while you can."

Zeppy
09-27-2008, 05:45 AM
Haha, ok thanks for all the info guys. I did some research on the credit union in my area, and I've decided to go and get more information. I was hoping to use the credit union for savings and Wamu for checking, but I think Wamu got closed? Yikes.