Coop Credit Union Merger and RMDs??

Are there any other UC Berkeley retirees in the BPN who are in my position?

My 403(b) retirement savings account is with Fidelity. My UCRS retirement income for 10 years has been direct-deposited to Cooperative Center Federal Credit Union.

Longtime Berkeley people may recall the old Co-Op supermarket chain.  In its heyday it had multiple branches, such as the building that is now Whole Foods on Telegraph at Ashby - plus a hardware store, drugstore, and - a credit union!  It was also a supermarket chain with a foreign policy, which may be part of the reason why the retail arm was not managed well and went out of business. Just saying.

But still the co-op federal credit union persisted.  Until now.

Cooperative Center Federal Credit Union has sent its customers a letter announcing a proposed merger with Nuvision Credit Union, based in Los Angeles.  The letter touts the 26 branches of Nuvision.  I googled them - they are located in 7-11 convenience stores in economically disadvantaged areas of Oakland.  I have never spent any time in these parts of town.

Hmm. So this institution provides banking options to low-income people. It is FDIC insured to $250k.  So far, so good, I guess.

However, I have two reservations about continuing to do business with this new entity:

1. A previous time when I was a credit union member and it was acquired by a new credit union (PatelCo), the new entity immediately started charging new fees.

2. This year, 2024, turns out to be the year when I turn 73, and the IRS requires me to start taking Required Minimum Distributions from my 403(b) retirement savings.

I was preparing to tell Fidelity to transfer these RMDs to my credit union savings account. But if there is anything undesirable about the new credit union situation, it could be a mess to straighten out.

Meanwhile, my husband suggests that I move all my money out of Cooperative Center Federal Credit Union and put it in his reliable credit union based in Silicon Valley.

What do people think about this situation?

Parent Replies

New responses are no longer being accepted.

I think your husband's idea is a good one.

We are using 1st United Credit Union which has an office across from Berkeley City Hall, and another in the shopping area with Rockridge Safeway. So far (35 Years) so good.

Long-term Patelco member here; I’m not clear what fees you’re referring to. With the occasional customer service “hiccup” at times when I’ve had to go in to one of the offices, things have been smooth. I’d consider researching and potentially switching to them.

I don't know about the current situation but we switched from Coop to Patelco several years ago and have been very happy with the switch. Coop was not staying up to date with things like online deposits. We bit the bullet on that one, but then one day they refused to accept a deposit from us because the name on the check matched a very generic name in a spammer list they had (something like "Mary Smith.")  We'd been members for decades, and we had stuck by them because we liked the idea of banking at a small place where we could get to know each other. So that was the last straw!  Recommend Patelco.

Another Patelco fan. You can choose to have fee-free accounts that earn less interest or accounts that earn more interest with minimum balances (sometimes those have fees if you drop below the minimum). The main thing to look at for any credit union is where the ATMs are, and where the branches are if you anticipate that you'd ever need to go in person. Also confirm that they have online deposit capabilities. 

I'll also add--I know nothing about Nuvision as an institution, but I do see that they are part of the CO-OP Shared Branch network (as is Patelco). That means you can also bank at the Patelco, USE Credit Union, or 1st United Credit Union locations in Berkeley (among other CU locations in the area) or at any 7-Eleven locations, not just those in Oakland. There's also a 7-Eleven on College Ave in the Elmwood and another on Telegraph near the Ashby Whole Foods. So it could be worth giving them a try first to see how it goes.