I've been using the federal credit union at my university for about 7 years now, which was the time I spent in grad school. It worked perfectly with no complaints whatsoever; and since I was on campus all the time, I had no issues with the fact that the only ATM's belonging to the credit union were located on campus.

However, now I have graduated and have moved to a large city, where most of the ATMs I see belong to banks and are located behind locked doors accessible only to card-carrying members. I have all of my money in my credit union, and I do not currently care about earning interest or anything like that. Having used my student credit union basically for the last 7 years, I have no idea how any of this works. Should I just become a member at one of the big banks and close my credit union account?

3 Answers 3


Find out if your old credit union participates in the "shared branch" network. If so, you can perform many/most banking operations by "borrowing" the offices and staff of other participating credit unions. Most of the benefits of a national bank, while retaining the advantages of credit unions.

(Most of my own operating cash is in a credit union whose nearest office is 200 miles away. Between bank-by-network, bank-by-mail, a free ATM network that many other banks are connected to, and Shared Branch, this has really not been an issue. There was an odd network limitation some years ago when I bought the house which required me to draw the 50% down payment as multiple bank checks from multiple credit union offices, but even that wasn't too much of a hassle.

If this doesn't do what you need, or if you want a local bank's account as well (eg to dump coins into), opening an account is pretty trivial, and transferring money between accounts isn't hard if you aren't in a rush.


The answer by Eric Johnson is good. Just adding one thought: At some point you may want a mortgage and then having the credit union account might benefit you. You won't know until you actually pull rates, of course, but a credit union might give you better rates. If you close your CU account, though, you may not be able to get back in since you'll no longer be associated with campus and therefore not eligible for a new membership. That might make it worth keeping a minimal amount there even if you move most of your business to a local bank.


Opening an account at a bank or another credit union where you live that has a convenient ATM network for you would make s lot of sense. Just determine which one has the best ATM locations and also has a free fee account that you qualify for.

To open an account just go into one branch and talk to a teller. If you current credit union account includes checking you should be able to just write a check for initial funding of the account.

As whether or not to close the old account. That depends on your preference. With Internet banking it is much easier to keep as counts at multiple banks/credit unions going. Some people like having multiple accounts other prefer only one for simplicity.

You can write yourself checks to transfer money from the old CU to your new account. If you do decide to close the old account just call up the CU and find out the procedure. I do recommend ensuring that they have your current mailing address first as they will likely mail the close out check to your address of record.

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .