Thursday, October 22, 2009

The Playbook - HSA

I'm excited to report that I have found a financial institution where I can transfer my Health Savings Account. Initially I was going with Bancorp because they seemed to offer what I was looking for - easy maintenance and fee free - with a $2,500 balance. I didn't like the balance requirement but it was the best offer that I could find. I've been building my HSA for a few years so I have the required minimum balance, but still, I don't like contingencies with my bank accounts. If I leave my HSA with the current bank I will incur a $3 per month fee since I'm no longer at the corp gig. My ex-employer picks up the monthly fee on their employees' behalf.

Luckily for me I never stopped perusing and looking around. One day I happened to look at the website of a credit union that's very close to my house. To my surprise I saw that they offered HSAs but I couldn't find the fee schedule. I called the credit union to inquire about the associated fees and the rep said, "we don't have any." LOL. I love it. Awesome. No minimums, no fees, no shenanigans. She then asked if I was a member and I said no, what are the qualifications? Her first question was "where do you live?" After I responded she said, "okay, you're qualified. You just need to open a savings account with at least $5." How funny. Okay, keep in mind that this credit union has been around for many years and its membership was reserved for employees of a specific family of companies, now the rules are more relaxed and membership is available to those who otherwise wouldn't have been able to join.

Loosening the membership belt is a great business move for the credit unions in this ailing economy. After all, it's the financial institutions that are buckling at the knees the most. Who knew that the infamous USAA would ever open their membership to who-so-ever will? You don't have access to all of the products but hey, they were as closed as a secret society fraternity at one point. Okay, a bit of an exaggeration, but they, like all credit unions, were reserved only for a specific group of people - thanks to the recession (or just a weird coincidence), things are changing. Yippee for those of us who never found themselves in the right circle to be a member of the credit unions ... with all of their lower rates on loans and higher rates on savings and fee-less banking. Gotta love it.

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