A credit union is more than just a financial institution. It is a community and its members are the heart of that community. And even though many credit unions are considered "local" – meaning they have branches in one city or county – that doesn't mean you have to leave them if you move away. You can take your local credit union with you.
The credit union advantage
1st United Credit Union, for example, offers membership to anyone who lives, works, or attends school in Alameda, Contra Costa, San Joaquin, Solano, Stanislaus, or Kings Counties. However, we don’t end your membership if you no longer meet that criteria. Once you are a member, you can continue to enjoy most of our benefits no matter where you live. And this is typically true of other local credit unions.
Here’s how to continue enjoying everything local credit unions (like 1st United) offer, even if you live hundreds or thousands of miles away.
Stay connected with technology
Technology has made it possible to stay in touch with your credit union, whether you are across the street or across the country. Some of these tools include:
- Digital account access: From a computer or smartphone, credit union members can securely access their accounts, transfer funds, make loan or credit card payments, order new checks, and handle other money management tasks.
- Direct and mobile deposits: Most businesses already offer direct deposit for their employees so you can continue to receive your paycheck quickly. Mobile deposit gives members a convenient way to deposit a check without visiting a branch or ATM. Simply take a picture of the check with your phone using the credit union’s app and your check will be safely deposited.
- Bill pay: Most credit unions offer bill pay so you can pay all your bills in one sitting through their app or website. This is especially helpful if you still pay bills to a business in your former town; payments can continue without skipping a beat.
- No-fee ATMs: Many credit unions, including 1st United, are part of the Co-Op ATM network. This allows members to get cash and make deposits at more than 30,000 ATMs nationwide (including a local credit union near their new home and many stores such as 7-11 and Costco) without paying any fees or surcharges.
- Text alerts: Text alerts deliver updates and urgent messages right to your smartphone or email account so your credit union can stay in contact with you. Alerts you can sign up for include balance notices, fraud warnings, credit card activity, and more.
- Paperless statements: Monthly statements that take a day or two to be delivered by mail may take several more when you live farther away. Go paperless and you’ll receive your monthly statements immediately via email. Along with being convenient, this is an environmentally-friendly choice.
- Help resources: Although you may not be able to drop in to ask a question in person, assistance with your membership is always just a click away. 1st United offers chat and secure messaging with our team. You can also call our Member Contact Center (remember to account for time zone differences).
What about loans?
Loans get trickier when you no longer live near your local credit union. The good news is that you won’t need to transfer an existing loan if you move (and with online banking, making a payment is a cinch).
Unfortunately, unless your credit union is national, it might not offer home and auto loans if you live in a different state. 1st United members can continue to apply for auto loans if you’re purchasing a car through a franchised dealership. Mortgages, however, aren’t available if you are purchasing a property out of state.
These restrictions don’t mean you need to drop your credit union to secure a loan. We encourage our members to let us know how we can assist with their borrowing needs. We might be able to refer them to our trusted lending partners who can find the mortgage or car loan they need.
Your credit union, wherever you are
Moving to a new city or state can be difficult. The physical move is complicated and the little things, like setting up utilities and finding a new gym, add to the stress. Keeping the local credit union you already love makes your transition easier while keeping you connected to the community that has your best financial interests in mind.
At 1st United, we strive to be your hometown credit union no matter where your journey takes you. If you’re planning a move, contact us and we’ll tell you more about how we can continue to serve you.