As soon as I decided it was time to move my money, I started web research to figure out where to go. I live in Seattle, so I started by searching this database:
After the search results popped up, I decided to start with Salal Credit Union. Their website had a lot of good information, and they have a branch about five blocks from our apartment. I went down to open an account last week.
And was not able to do it. I’m about 80 points short of being good enough to have an account.
Salal requires customers to have a minimum credit score of 600 in order to open a checking account with them. My credit score is not that high. The lady I talked to said that most credit unions are moving away from ChexSystems to verify that you’re not passing bad checks and toward requiring a certain minimum score to have an account.
I have to wonder: If that’s true, how are they going to do outreach to people who are stuck using payday loan and check cashing places? Those folks are not going to have a high enough score to qualify. Which is doubly odd, since Salal has something they call SalalReadyCash. They bill it as an alternative to the payday loan industry. But how can you access something you don’t qualify for?
The lady I talked to told me to keep trying other places, and thought that BECU might be large enough to absorb people with lower credit ratings.
I guess it’s back to the drawing board. But I won’t stop looking. I’ll keep you posted.