What you need to know about credit unions.
First and foremost, “all residents” CUs are all over the United States. Especially they are found in major metropolitan areas. I suppose my town is somewhat different, but we have nine different all-residents credit unions from which to choose. This type of credit union allows all residents of a specific area to join; typically, all the counties within their metropolitan service area.
Simply google up “all-residents credit union [your metropolitan service area]”.
or search by zip/postal code here: http://cuonline.ncua.gov/CreditUnionOnline/CU/FindCreditUnions.aspx
Although CUs tend to have fewer branches, they also tend to participate in credit union service centers. That is branches of other CUs which allow you full access to your “banking” privileges in person at their location. While no bank I may choose in Texas will allow me walk-up banking in my native Kentucky, I know of four places in my home town where I could do my banking if I really had to do so in person.
ATMs are similarly situated. You will not find an ATM on literally every block, but these are not as few as the hype imagines. The network your CU uses will have their own website. Until today, doing a little research for this, I did not know I may use the ATMs at 7-eleven locations without fees nationwide.
Mostly you will be direct-depositing your income, and aside from a little pocket money, using your free debit card. Generally I get my pocket money when I go to the grocery store, which I may do anywhere in North America. I have entered a branch of my credit union three times in three years. Once was simply to introduce a friend to the concept and she readily joined.
By using a credit union, I get my direct-deposited pay around eighteen hours earlier than my bank-using comrades. The issue this may address hasn’t really come up yet, but good to have.
For the most part, a credit union is as boring and uneventful as a bank but they don’t help themselves to as much of your money.