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Help me choose a Local Bank/Credit Union in the Bay Area/Northern California

Giggles_FunsworthGiggles_Funsworth Blight on DiscourseBay Area SprawlRegistered User regular
edited December 2011 in Help / Advice Forum
So I am with Wells Fargo right now. I know they are assholes, but after my smaller regional bank dicked me, I went with them because my girlfriend and her dad have been with them for a long time and it made it easy for me to transfer money to her, their reps at the local branch are super nice, and they're like two blocks away. I kind of wanted to switch on Bank Transfer day, but my girlfriend convinced me not to.

But after reading the other H/A thread about the dude who overdrafted with them, I really don't feel like hanging on to my account anymore.

I do have some requirements though.

They need to have decent availability of ATMs (or other banks they have agreements with) in San Jose, San Francisco, the Bay Area, and Northern California, in order of priority for me because of how much and where I spend my time. I don't want to get dinged with ATM fees all the time because I can't find one of theirs. I would consider a banking with someone that offers refunds of ATM fees like WaMu used to.

They need to have good online banking software so that I can still rapidly transfer money to my girlfriend's (Wells Fargo) account, free of charge. There are REASONS she can't switch right now. Preferably instantaneous, same day is also acceptable, and I guess I would consider next day but Wells Fargo's website has really spoiled me in regards to this.

Does anybody have any ideas or places to start looking?

Giggles_Funsworth on

Posts

  • EshEsh Tending bar. FFXIV. Motorcycles. Portland, ORRegistered User regular
    edited December 2011
    If you're not having issues, and Wells Fargo works just fine for you, why switch? It's the reason I stay with them even though there's a glut of credit unions around me. They treat me really well, there's a ton of locations near me, the online presence is very well done. You're going to lose out on a ton of convenience...

    This is my "advice". I'm not trying to enter a discussion (please, don't even bring it up) with anyone about the evils of big banking. If your experience ain't broke, why try and fix it?

    Esh on
  • ThanatosThanatos Registered User regular
    Esh wrote:
    If you're not having issues, and Wells Fargo works just fine for you, why switch? It's the reason I stay with them even though there's a glut of credit unions around me. They treat me really well, there's a ton of locations near me, the online presence is very well done. You're going to lose out on a ton of convenience...

    This is my "advice". I'm not trying to enter a discussion (please, don't even bring it up) with anyone about the evils of big banking. If your experience ain't broke, why try and fix it?
    Sorry, but the evils of big banking are a fucking problem. This would be like someone advising someone on how to drug a girl so you can have sex with her, and not wanting to hear about "the evils of rape." That's the whole fucking issue.

    @Giggles_Funswo, most credit unions are members of an ATM-sharing network, so if you're a member of one, you can use any of their ATMs. Most online banks will allow you to do transfers of money between accounts pretty simply (I know I do it with mine, and it's usually within a day).

    As for finding them, this site seems to work pretty well (I plugged my address in, and it had all of the CUs near me). Unfortunately, I can't really help you with recommending a specific Northern California CU, but asking friends is a good place to start.

  • ceresceres When the last moon is cast over the last star of morning And the future has past without even a last desperate warningRegistered User, Moderator mod
    Thanatos what in the hell are you talking about. 1) This isn't D&D; 2) those two things are not even remotely analogous; and 3) never ever say anything like that here again.

    This is not D&D. Do not attempt to debate the issue in this thread. You can leave advice without debating each other, honest.

    And it seems like all is dying, and would leave the world to mourn
  • WhacktoseWhacktose Registered User regular
    I use USAA. It's effectively online only, but their online & phone services are top notch (iphone/android check deposit, tons of banking services, US-based support, etc). They also give you up to $15 in reimbursed ATM fees a month (they don't charge their own), so if you're like me and taking money out maybe once a week, you're not even touching that limit.

  • SkeithSkeith Registered User regular
    Well, the ATM presence isn't that great (I can think of 3 or 4 branches in San Francisco and one in Daly City), but Patelco has always treated me well. Since they don't have many of their own machines, they're probably a part of a network, but you'd have to check with them.

    mts wrote: »
    heres how i see it being a total win situation for you
    1. stay with your wife while she dog sits. this wins husband points since she knows its out of your comfort zone
    2. have sex all over her friends house so that the next time you see her friend look at you condescendingly, you can wink back knowing you did the freaky deaky where she eats her cheerios.
  • schussschuss Registered User regular
    Firemans Credit Union in SF. They refund all ATM fees. Oh, and free candy at the office! Good stuff too.

    http://www.sffirecu.org/

  • FeralFeral MEMETICHARIZARD interior crocodile alligator ⇔ ǝɹʇɐǝɥʇ ǝᴉʌoɯ ʇǝloɹʌǝɥɔ ɐ ǝʌᴉɹp ᴉRegistered User regular
    edited January 2012
    They need to have decent availability of ATMs (or other banks they have agreements with) in San Jose, San Francisco, the Bay Area, and Northern California, in order of priority for me because of how much and where I spend my time. I don't want to get dinged with ATM fees all the time because I can't find one of theirs. I would consider a banking with someone that offers refunds of ATM fees like WaMu used to.

    Bay Area local here. I have two credit unions: San Mateo Credit Union, and Patelco. Patelco locations are pretty numerous and span from Berkeley to SF to San Jose.

    Also, most credit unions in the area are part of one of the credit union networks, which means you can walk in to any credit union and as long as you have your account number, you can do your banking. You can also use affiliated credit union ATMs without charge. Take a look at this map: http://www.cuswirl.com/search?zipcode=94123

    They need to have good online banking software so that I can still rapidly transfer money to my girlfriend's (Wells Fargo) account, free of charge. There are REASONS she can't switch right now. Preferably instantaneous, same day is also acceptable, and I guess I would consider next day but Wells Fargo's website has really spoiled me in regards to this.

    You're not going to get this, sorry, regardless of who you go with. Bank-to-bank transfers are ridiculously slow in the US. Regardless of what bank or credit union you go with, you can expect a bank-to-bank transfer to take 3-4 business days.

    @Skeith: Patelco is part of the CUSwirl network. Take a look at the above link.

    Feral on
    every person who doesn't like an acquired taste always seems to think everyone who likes it is faking it. it should be an official fallacy.
    the "no true scotch man" fallacy.
  • zepherinzepherin Registered User regular
    Whacktose wrote:
    I use USAA. It's effectively online only, but their online & phone services are top notch (iphone/android check deposit, tons of banking services, US-based support, etc). They also give you up to $15 in reimbursed ATM fees a month (they don't charge their own), so if you're like me and taking money out maybe once a week, you're not even touching that limit.
    USAA is pretty awesome. They treat their military people better but they do a pretty good job with non military people too and anyone can bank with them. However if you need a physical presence or you do a lot of business in cash, then USAA isn't very good. If your company has a credit union that may also be preferable because your bosses leverage also helps you out because if they jack you around your boss may put the weight of their money behind it. That's why my brother banks at the same bank that his company banks at. If you were a federal worker I could tell you several local credit unions that are good credit unions in your area.

  • saltinesssaltiness Registered User regular
    schuss wrote:
    Firemans Credit Union in SF. They refund all ATM fees. Oh, and free candy at the office! Good stuff too.

    http://www.sffirecu.org/

    Another vote for SF Fire. I've never paid an ATM fee in my life.

    XBL: heavenkils
  • schussschuss Registered User regular
    saltiness wrote:
    schuss wrote:
    Firemans Credit Union in SF. They refund all ATM fees. Oh, and free candy at the office! Good stuff too.

    http://www.sffirecu.org/

    Another vote for SF Fire. I've never paid an ATM fee in my life.

    Yeah, super nice to deal with too.

  • JansonJanson Registered User regular
    While I do not have any recommendations for a good credit union, I do NOT recommend Tech CU. Their ATM fees and customer service are no better than any major bank, and I've also had problems overdrawing the account (i.e. a check showed as cleared when it hadn't, we were charged 9 overdraft fees on the same day - largest transaction processed first - and when talking to a rep in person, she was only able to drop 2 of the 9 charges).

  • FeralFeral MEMETICHARIZARD interior crocodile alligator ⇔ ǝɹʇɐǝɥʇ ǝᴉʌoɯ ʇǝloɹʌǝɥɔ ɐ ǝʌᴉɹp ᴉRegistered User regular
    Janson wrote:
    While I do not have any recommendations for a good credit union, I do NOT recommend Tech CU. Their ATM fees and customer service are no better than any major bank, and I've also had problems overdrawing the account (i.e. a check showed as cleared when it hadn't, we were charged 9 overdraft fees on the same day - largest transaction processed first - and when talking to a rep in person, she was only able to drop 2 of the 9 charges).

    That's some bullshit. That's the reason I no longer deal with corporate banks. Washington Mutual used to pull that shit all the time with me.

    I had an HSA at TechCU for a little while and I never had any problems with them, but after I changed health plans I closed that account.

    I've only had one problem at San Mateo Credit Union in the 4 or so years I've been with them. I have automatic bill pay and my bills are paid on Friday, because that's when I get paid.

    Last Veteran's Day, they were closed on Friday, so they processed the bill pay on the preceding Thursday. I don't keep a large buffer in my checking account so this caused a bunch of overdraft fees. They reversed every single one of them.

    every person who doesn't like an acquired taste always seems to think everyone who likes it is faking it. it should be an official fallacy.
    the "no true scotch man" fallacy.
  • ED!ED! Registered User regular
    Good look on the ability to transfer funds between banks; the CU I use uses a third-party which I'm not going to touch with a 10-foot pole (may as well use PayPal). As someone mentioned, if WF has treated you great in the past, why switch based on the customer service experience of ONE person on a message board? I'll be moving soon, and I'm most likely not sticking with a credit union simply because of the convenience of a big bank.

    "Get the hell out of me" - [ex]girlfriend
  • Inquisitor77Inquisitor77 2 x Penny Arcade Fight Club Champion A fixed point in space and timeRegistered User regular
    I live in the SF Bay Area as well, and tried to find a credit union with decent returns and relatively useful functionality (ATMs, fees, etc.). Unfortunately, I couldn't find one, and turned to internet banking instead. Try EverBank, ING, or Discover. A lot of new ones are popping up all the time. I believe Capital One and American Express also offer online banking solutions as well.

    Unfortunately, you won't find any rates higher than 0.2% for brick-and-mortar institutions nowadays, but if that is important to you then check out: BauerFinancial's Star Ratings for a high-level independent overview. If you see something with 4-5 stars, I'd suggest walking in and talking to them directly. Make sure you have a list of questions handy for the things that are important to you (rates of return, ATM fees/availability, service offerings, etc. etc. etc.).

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