In Iowa the most common financial institutions are banks and credit unions. It is very important that you have a relationship with either a bank or credit union. You should choose what is right for you. If you like working with a big corporation that has many branches, then a big bank is good for you. If you like banks but prefer a smaller business, then a community bank may be best. If you like the idea of a financial cooperative that is not for profit, then a credit union should be your choice.
A bank is a business that operates to make a profit. Some, like Wells Fargo or U.S. Bank, are very large and have several branch offices, so they are very convenient to use. Some banks are small, and they are called community banks. Many times there is only one branch. These are often found in smaller towns. However, they offer many of the same services as the big banks. If you like the convenience of having many branches and ATMs in your community and across the nation, then a big bank is good for you.
Credit unions are not for profit businesses. They are cooperatives and are governed by volunteers. But like banks, they offer many of the same financial services, such as checking and savings accounts. And like banks, credit unions offer loans, too. You must join a credit union to take advantage of the services, but if there is a cost, it is usually very small, such as $5.