So I'm finally ready to open an account here. Not because I have any actual income, mind you; my apparently chronic unemployment continues in full swing. Rather, I've started getting checks from the insurance company from my apartment break-in. :-D I've banked with Los Alamos National Bank for six years now, and I like their size and their service. But not living in Santa Fe any more, it's a stretch.

I had been waiting to get a permanent-ish a) job, or b) residence, before committing to an institution, because I was hoping for something with locations convenient to either. At this point, screw it, anything is more convenient than Santa Fe.

What do folks like for banking or credit unions here? I Searched on both terms but couldn't find any previous comparisons/weigh-ins. What's important to me is service rather than size. I don't need a lot of features--someplace to put my money and a decent ATM network will about do it for me.

As always, thanks for your thoughts!

Tags: bank, banking, credit, union

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I'm a big fan of Charter Bank's Turbo Checking account.
I'm not a fan of large banks but I bank with Compass... mainly because they offer a checking account in which they reimburse all of your atm fees, just save the receipts and drop them off like a deposit... that $h!% adds up!
That's atm fees from any atm... their atm is no charge.
We use New Mexico Educator's Federal Credit Union and are very happy with it. Good service, no fees, and they're ubiquitous across the state, and have partners across the country. The only prerequisite to membership (besides money to open an account) is some involvement in education- like if you're going to school, are a teacher, or have family who is otherwise involved.
you can also get a nmefcu account by becoming a co-op member (which I think is about $15/year now). it can get you in the credit union door if you're not a teacher/student/etc. I've had the same credit union account since I was 10 and it's miles above the "big" banks I had to use when I was living back east. the only drawback is that sometimes finding a partner bank when you're traveling can be difficult (the credit union will give you a list of fee-free atms, but actually physically locating them in a strange city can be an adventure).
I bank at LANB and don't think I would ever change. My paychecks are direct deposited and I can withdraw cash at the grocery fee-free. Paper deposits I send priority mail. When I bought my house in '97 I never had to set foot in the bank. We were able to do everything, by fax, email and FedEx.
I'm another NM Educator's Credit Union "member," (they run a good hype for communal whatever, but let's face it, it's a bank and that's okay, cuz they're a really nice bank). I like it just fine and they do indeed have lots of branches all over the city. I've never had an unpleasant experience at the counter, and as a member you can go to their car lot off the freeway and get pretty good deals from salaried, not commissioned, sales people.

On the rare occasion that I overdraw, they charge, like, $5 or something, no big, unlike my old corporate bank that charged $25 or $30 a pop. If my hubby and I weren't communicating & we used to use our check cards for everything, we once racked up some $300 in overdraft fees one week (this was at Wells Fargo or its precursor), never heard from the bank, nothing. So when I went to deposit my meagre check, they said thanks very much, your balance is $60 or something stupid. Turns my guy's paycheck had been held up for some paperwork reason on their end. They declined to refund even a portion. Bye.

On the other hand, my brother who is an ex drug addict and a total flop with money also used to use Compass and they gallantly weathered most of his BS without batting a lash, as I recall. That was before he declared that if you put money in an account, the bank will just take it (which apparently is why he was always broke, yeah right) and now keeps his millions stashed in books in his house, so he has to look through his library before he goes to the grocery. *sigh* (It also means that if he has another go at his Thomas Pynchon selections, he will be rewarded with enough money to buy a case of beer, and maybe he'll invite me over.)
I agree, the large banks including compass screw you on overdrafts. I guess I've been fortunate lately to not worry about that but when I was really poor I was in their office raising hell a lot... many times they'll concede. The customer service reps have a leeway of about $90 they can give back to you immediately... and if you get a stickler call back and get someone else. Higher amounts can be given back if you have some sort of legitimate excuse... usually mine was that your online banking system sucks... they would not show debits that hadn't cleared yet even though they had the technology... they've since adressed that, most likely because of the fear of a class action suit.
I am a member of NMEFCU too, but for my regular banking needs, I've been really happy with Bank of the West. Overdraft fees are steep, but they're convenient, pleasant, have lots of atms, and you only need to get $5 out of an atm at a time.
Another thing I like about NMEFCU is the Community Rewards program -- 0.25% of all signature purchases (ie anything you don't enter your PIN for) is donated to local charity, and a matching check is cut for you.
I'm with NMEFCU and have been happy with them. They don't charge for the coin sorter, the staff is always pleasant and I refinanced my mortgage through them as well. A teller gave me a very helpful financial suggestion once and I appreciate that she took the time to make me aware of some options I didn't know about.
Most credit unions are good. But you said you wanted convenient ATM's and didn't care about size...so look at Bank of America. They are everywhere.

I looked around a lot before I moved here...wanted to go with a local bank...but between the ATM locations and their really easy online services I went with BOA. I also use two branches, one close to home, one close to work, and the people are always friendly and most times helpful.

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