Frequently Asked Questions

Following are answers to some of the most frequent questions we hear:

  1. Are accounts at these smaller banks and credit unions safe?

    A: Yes, your accounts at community investing banks and credit unions are insured up to $250,000 per depositor at any bank with FDIC insurance, and any credit union with NCUA insurance.
  2. Do community development banks and credit unions pay a competitive rate of return?

    A: Yes. Community development banks and credit unions pay a rate of return comparable with that of banks and credit unions in general. They also provide better customer service and have lower fees.
  3. What if a mega-bank holds my mortgage?

    A: You may be able to refinance your mortgage with a community development bank or credit union. If they are offering a lower interest rate than you are currently paying this may make a lot of sense.
  4. How do I avoid ATM fees when I bank with a small bank without many branches?

    A: A number of credit unions have reciprocal relationships, where they will not charge each other’s customers ATM fees. You can find out more information here. You can also take out a week’s worth of cash at your bank and supplement those withdrawals with cash back on debit card transactions from stores. Many pharmacies and grocery stores will let you receive $35-100 (or more) in cash back for free with each purchase.
  5. What does switching credit cards mean for my credit rating?

    A. One's credit score is based on a number of factors and it is very important to ensure that bills are paid on time, in full. If you have a good credit rating, switching your credit card should not be a problem. If you are seeking a loan, ask what information will be used to determine your eligibility. You can also switch to a credit card at a community development bank or credit union as soon as you've secured your loan. For more information visit:

    http://defendyourdollars.org/document/how-to-get-your-free-credit-report

    http://www.responsiblelending.org/tools-resources/headlines/Every-Credit-Score-Is-Not-Created-the-Same.html

For additional information regarding banking with community development banks and credit unions, turn to our Community Investing Guide.

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