Why is the fact that CU’s are insured by the NCUA instead of the FDIC “less cool”?
Speaking for myself, I’ve been a member of Pentagon FCU since I worked there one summer while in college and they have been great. (Anybody with a pulse can qualify for PenFed; and they are well-known for inexplicably cheap car loan rates.) Nowadays with smartphone deposits and free ATM’s here and there, the lack of a local branch isn’t a big issue.
That said, there are still a scattered few things you need a branch bank for (notary services, bills you can’t get from an ATM, etc.) so anybody might want to consider a “backup” account with a local credit union while maintaining your account with your “home”.
Certainly there is precisely ZERO reason to sign on with a major bank if you have a CU you qualify for within a relatively close distance. I’d never use a commercial bank except as a “backup” for my national CU account if I couldn’t find a local CU.