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I was excited to see in my google alerts this morning a local story about switching from a bank to a credit union.

Brent Hunsberger of The Oregonian authors a personal finance blog called “It’s Only Money.” He is very thorough is his research. I learned a ton from reading his post – here’s just a sampling:

Last week, classic credit cards issued through Oregon credit unions, on average, charged 11.2 percent interest, according to Datatrac, a market research firm. Bank-issued cards charged 17.2 percent.

If you love those kind of stats, you need to read his entire post.

He plugs shared branching and the Co-Op network, he lets banks say we have an unfair advantage (ad nauseum) with the federal income tax break, and he even got an opinion from an Illinois State University professor on the impact of the economy on some credit unions.

But the most interesting part of the piece? His list of pros and cons for joining a credit union.

The pros are what you’d expect. They’re lending, their rates are better, they’re easier to join, etc.

But the cons list included:

Some are acting like banks.

OnPoint Community Credit Union of Portland and First Technology Credit Union of Beaverton each boast more than $2 billion in assets and hold more deposits than any Oregon-based bank, except Umpqua Bank.

That’s it.

The writer is a member of a credit union (he doesn’t say which one), so he offered this con as his personal opinion.

Does this mean bigger isn’t better?

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February 2010