Financial Institutions

Credit unions are owned by their members. Often credit unions are able to offer better deals than banks due their not-for-profit nature. However, some credit unions are only open to people who work for certain companies or live in certain areas. Many credit unions still offer free checking accounts with no monthly fees. Credit unions deposit accounts are insured up to $250,000 by the NCUA (National Credit Union Administration). This type of insurance is just like the FDIC insurance at banks. The exception is Monterey Credit Union which has private insurance that covers up to $500,000 per account from a company called American Share Insurance.

There were four different savings and loans in Santa Cruz County in 1966. The difference in services between savings and loans and banks ended in the early 1980's. During the savings and loan crisis from 1986 to 1995 the number of savings and loans declined. Many that survived, changed their charter to become a bank. While savings and loan companies still exist, there are none in Santa Cruz County. The last S&L in California is in San Rafael . In 1989, The Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) absorbed the Federal Savings & Loan Insurance Corporation (FSLIC). Savings & loans are now insured by the FDIC. Savings and Loan accounts are insured at the same rate as banks.

Banks are usually owned by shareholders. Rabobank is an exception.  It is a private company. Accounts at banks are insured by the FDIC up to $250,000. In 1966 there were five different banks in Santa Cruz County. Currently, Rabobank, Bank of the West, and Union Bank are owned by foreign companies (Netherlands, France and Japan respectively). The largest US bank with a branch in Santa Cruz County is Chase. 

Banks

Credit Unions

Check Cashing, Money Orders, Payroll Advance

Money orders can be bought at banks, Post Offices, convenience stores, and most drug stores. Those listed here include it as part of cash handling services.  Check cashing and payroll advances can become costly. Your bank would have the best value for cash handling. Being listed here should not be considered a recommendation.

Other Financial Services

Investment services usually have checking accounts available through a partner bank. (e,g. Morgan Stanley with Chase, Charles Schwab with Bank of America).  Some investment services require a minimum amount to have brokerage service. Your bank can offer many of the same investment opportunities as the investment companies. The major exception is frequent dealing in stocks.

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