Investments

Credit Union vs Bank

CUvsBANK開車在路上, 常會見到xxx Credit Union的招牌, 不知各位有沒有好奇過, Credit Union是什麼? 和一般的銀行有什麼不同? 我一直很好奇, 但都沒有去把答案找出來, 直到現在.

其實二者的主要業務是一樣的, 銀行帳戶, 信用卡, 貸款, 但是仔細探查之後發現有四大項不同:

  1. Ownership: Banks are corporations owned by shareholders; credit unions are owned by their customers (meaning You and I have the right to vote). Furthermore, while board members of banks are typically paid for their service, people on a credit union’s board volunteer their time.
  2. Profits: Banks are for profits so they charge you a lot of fees just to open, maintain an account; however, they distribute the profits to shareholders (if you own their stocks) via dividends and share buybacks; credit unions are nonprofits so they use the profit to increase interest rates on saving accounts and decrease the interest rates on loans.
  3. Size and Reach: Credit Unions are much smaller in size and coverage geographically which mean you get more personal attention and help.
  4. Regulation: Banks are regulated by an alphabet soup of federal and state agencies such as the Federal Reserve, the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation, the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency, and state banking regulators.Credit unions, by contrast, are regulated by the National Credit Union Administration on the federal level, and state agencies on the state level. Beyond simply regulating them, moreover, the NCUA is tasked with operating and managing the National Credit Union Share Insurance Fund, which, playing an analogous role to the FDIC vis-à-vis banks, insures the deposits of more than 98 million account holders in all federal credit unions and the overwhelming majority of state-chartered credit unions.

下一個問題你要問的就是, 那個比較好?

其實二者都很好, 主要看你的需求, 決定哪一個比較適合你.

如果你是做大生意的, 除了需要銀行帳戶存放款之外, 還需要擴大信用額度來借貸的話, 大型銀行是首選.

如果你是做小生意的或是一般老百姓, 需求單純, 就是存款, 車貸, 房貸的話, 那Credit Union會是比較好的選擇.

  • 他們是小額貸款的最佳選擇 因為大型銀行對於十萬以下的貸款較無興趣.
  • 存款利率較高 (沒有最低存款金額要求), 而貸款利率較低 (NASA Federal Credit Union甚至提供100% Mortgage financing)
  • 信用卡多半沒有年費 (Pentagon Federal Credit Union’s 信用卡甚至沒有國外交易手續費), 循環利率低 (但是有可能rewards也比較少, 例如有些可能沒有Cash back or Points for gift cards).
  • 如果家裡有在念大學的小孩, 大多數的Credit Unions與Credit Union Student Choice合作, 提供Private line of credit to supplement college education costs – Zero fees, Lower interest rates, Flexible repayment plans including school deferment.
  • 許多Credit Union隸屬Surcharge Free ATM Networks and/or the Shared Branch Network 提供 members 近三萬個免費的ATM or 超過 5,300 shared locations to match any big bank.

那要如何選擇適合自己的Credit Union呢?

“Not everybody can join any credit union, but just about everybody can join a credit union”

由於每一個Credit Union的Target clients/members都不同, 所以你無法隨意走進一家Credit Union開戶, 而必須符合他們各家Credit Union的申請條件, 例如employee groups, associations, religious or fraternal affiliations, and residential areas.

  1. Choose a convenient institution:Look for a credit union that provides ATM services, or a branch network that is local to your area or belong to Free ATM Networks. Also make sure that the institution you choose has reliable online banking — and even mobile banking services.
  2. Look for great programs: Make sure that your credit union offers home lending services, issues credit and debit cards, provides auto loans, features a good savings program, and offers financial counseling.
  3. Find a credit union that fits your needs: Credit union members have more success at institutions that cater specifically to their lifestyle needs. “Military members are likely to get better service from a military credit union, because the credit union understands that lifestyle and caters to those members’ financial needs. The same holds true for some profession-focused credit unions like municipal employees, realtors, or large company retirees. If you discover that a credit union doesn’t offer a certain service, ask for it. After all, if you join, you’re an owner. If enough others make a similar request, you may very well get what you want.
  4. Shop around for the best fees: It always pays to shop around, especially if you have more than one credit union you might join.  If you want to find a great credit union in your area, visit FindACreditUnion.com or ASmarterChoice.org or http://www.culookup.com for more information. With the WalletHub credit union locator, enter your location, employer, church, school and volunteer information to see what credit unions you’re eligible to join.

Credit unions have really become the organic financial institutions in our financial service marketplace right now. They’re locally grown, locally owned, and are the best options for people on a local basis.

Learn more about Credit Unions — get consumer tips and consumer protection information all in one place.  MyCreditUnion.gov is brought to you by the Office of Consumer Protection, the National Credit Union Administration’s office dedicated to protecting the rights of consumers, resolving member complaints, and promoting financial literacy.

7 Great Credit Unions Anyone Can Join

  1. Alliant Credit Union
  2. Connexus Credit Union
  3. Consumers Credit Union
  4. Lake Michigan Credit Union
  5. Nasa Federal Credit Union
  6. Pentagon Federal Credit Union
  7. Navy Federal Credit Union

Best of Bay Area Credit Unions

  1. Stanford Federal Credit Union
  2. Provident Credit Union
  3. First Tech credit Union
  4. Patelco Credit Union
  5. Chevron Federal Credit Union
  6. SF Fire Credit Union
  7. SF Federal Credit Union

5 Best Credit Unions

  1. Navy Federal Credit Union
  2. Pentagon Federal Credit Union
  3. Nasa Federal Credit Union
  4. Suncoast Credit Union
  5. Alliant Credit Union

Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. (FDIC)

While your deposits are insured for up to $250,000 by the FDIC, that doesn’t mean every account at a particular bank is covered for that amount. The way you structure your accounts could put you at risk because the coverage is based on how the accounts are owned.

FDIC insurance doesn’t cover investment products, such as mutual funds, annuities, life insurance policies, stocks, bonds or the contents of your safe-deposit box.

If your money is on deposit at a federally chartered credit union or the vast majority of state-chartered ones, you have coverage through the National Credit Union Administration, or NCUA, which operates similarly to the FDIC.

Single accounts

The maximum amount of coverage for single accounts at one bank is $250,000. All single accounts at the same bank are added together. Let’s look at the example of an account

Screen Shot 2015-09-11 at 5.07.56 PM

Joint accounts

Each co-owner receives $250,000 in insurance for each account, plus $250,000 in insurance for individual accounts at a bank. Let’s look at an example of married account holders we’ll call Ron and Pat.

Screen Shot 2015-09-11 at 5.08.05 PM

You can boost your coverage limits higher by opening other types of accounts within the same bank. Other ownership categories include:

  • Certain retirement accounts.
  • Revocable trusts.
  • Irrevocable trusts.
  • Employee benefit plan accounts.
  • Corporation, partnership and unincorporated association accounts.
  • Government accounts.

每個人每年至少要申請一份免費的信用歷史紀錄報告, 因為你才能及早發現問題!

注意你的信用卡公司每次寄來的文件!! 不要沒看就丟垃圾桶!

2015. 11. 01 後記:

Provident Credit Union 現在最好的promotion是他們的Checking account rate (1.5%), up to $25,000 . 你只需要(1) Monthly Direct Deposit (2) Monthly Online Bill-pay or using Debit Card for $300 spending 就符合資格, 而且還不用被套牢一年.

南加州的First Choice Bank 現在最好的promotion是他們的Checking account rate (2.5%), minimum $2,500 and up to $10,000 . 你只需要(1) Monthly Direct Deposit (2) Monthly Online Bill-pay 就符合資格, 也不用被套牢一年.  北加州的朋友可以把資料填好, 公證後寄回南加州, 申請通過後以Online Banking的方式使用.

Investments

美國的信用分數

在美國, 不論是要貸款, 要租屋, 要申請信用卡, 都會被查你的信用分數(FICO Score), 所以對於剛抵達美國工作或求學的人, 或者只用現金消費的人, 會因為完全沒有信用記錄而被拒.

信用分數從350分開始, 一直到850分, 多數人分數介於650-799之間, 中間點約730分 (730以上就算信用好), 分數當然是越高越好, 有些時候貸款利率和信用分數有成反比的情況, 信用分數越高, 貸款利率越低.

2012年才開始, 如果你能開始建立一個好的信用記錄, 就是一個好的開始.


那信用分數是怎麼計算出來的呢?

  • 35% 在於還款記錄: 一定要準時繳款, 就算無法全數付清, 起碼要付最低應繳金額.
  • 30% 在於可借額度和已借額度的比例 (Debt-to-Credit ratio): 欠款越少越好, 所以能付清的就付清吧. 但是, 如果你把不用的信用卡取消掉, 導致借貸額度降低, 相對的欠款額度看似增加, 也會對信用有負面影響. 舉例, 你原本有三張信用卡, 每張信用卡的額度是一千塊, 你有一張卡上面有欠五百塊, 這樣看起來是$500 vs $3000 (1:6).  如果你把其中一張卡關掉, 那比例就變成$500 vs $2000 (1;4), 後者的分數會比前者低, 當然, 如果你都沒有欠款, 就沒有這個問題.
  • 15% 在於信用記錄的時間長短: 不要將你最早申請的那張信用卡或銀行戶頭關掉, 即使你都沒有在用.
  • 10% 在於信用種類: 分為Installment (房貸, 車貸, 學生貸款等等), Revoloving (信用卡, 水電費, 稅款等等), Consumer finance, Mortgage.  多元化的信用種類紀錄是有利的.
  • 10% 在於Recent searches for credit: 如果你近日有申請信用卡或貸款, 會因為銀行查詢你的信用資料而導致你的信用分數”短時間”內降低. 但是, 如果是你自己查詢你自己的信用分數, 或者你工作的公司(for employee verification), 或者那些銀行要寄給你Pre-Approved 信用卡申請的公司所做的查詢, 都不會對你的信用分數造成影響.

每個人一年可以從三家信用公司 (Experian, Equifax and TransUnion) 各申請一份免費的信用記錄 (付點錢可以順便看信用分數), 這份信用記錄上會詳細記載你過去所有申請過, 取消過的銀行帳戶, 信用卡, 學生貸款, 房屋貸款, 車子貸款等所有記錄.

記得上Annual Credit Report網站申請免費信用記錄報告, 建議你每年起碼要查看自己的信用一次 (可以每四個月向其中一家申請, 這樣一年可以看三份免費), 可以及時發現如果有人盜用你的名字申請銀行帳戶或信用卡. 如果發現你的信用記錄報告上有任何錯誤, 一定要及時送出更正要求.

後記: New Credit Score System is coming.