2009 GREATER PHOENIX ULTIMATE GUIDE TO LIVING HERE 51 ' Must- have' banking services What are the five services every bank or credit union, regardless of its size, should offer? " Most people want checking accounts, savings accounts, access to consumer credit, including home and auto loans, and online banking," said Tanya Wheeless, president and CEO of the Arizona Bankers Association. If you want to frequently monitor checking account activity or you rely on online bill pay, user- friendly online banking is key. Many financial institutions offer online banking, but their Web sites can be very different from each other, and some are much easier to navigate than others. Ask a financial institution representative to give you a tour of the organization's online banking service. Beyond that, Wheeless said, other " must- have" services vary according to personal preference. If you own a business, for instance, the ability to make remote deposits using a check scanner could be critical. Conveniently located branches may be more or less important, depending on your perspective, than personalized attention from a banker. — Debra Gelbart also more likely to be able to develop a relationship with a banker, because smaller banks emphasize personal relationships with their customers. Credit union option Credit unions are good source for banking services. There are 30 state and federally chartered credit unions in Greater Phoenix, according to the Arizona Credit Union League & Affiliates. Credit unions require membership, but permits members to pool their savings, lend to one another, and own the organization where they save, borrow, and obtain related financial services. " Many have expanded their charters and membership eligibility requirements so that just about anyone can join a credit union," said Sandy Watts, spokeswoman of the Arizona Credit Union League. Set priorities Experts advise choosing a bank or credit union based on your priorities. For example, if you're going to be mostly banking online but want conveniently located ATMs that you can access without fees even if they belong to another bank, you might consider a smaller bank that doesn't charge for out- of- network ATM usage. Before you open an account, ask the financial institutions you're considering questions about their hours, branch and ATM locations, range of financial services, online banking and fees. Arizona Bankers Association • 602- 258- 1200 • www. azbankers. org Arizona Credit Union System • 602- 264- 6701 • www. azcreditunions. org Arizona Department of Financial Institutions • 800- 544- 0708 • www. azdfi. gov Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation • 877- 275- 3342 • www. FDIC. gov National Credit Union Administration • 602- 302- 6000 • www. ncua. gov BANKING RESOURCE GUIDE " If you're new to the Valley, visit banks and talk to the employees there to find an institution you're comfortable with." — Tanya Wheeless, President and CEO, Arizona Bankers Association.
settling in PHONE/ CABLE/ INTERNET Two major service providers, Qwest and Cox Communications, offer land lines for telephone service and such related features as Internet access, long- distance services and cable TV. Grouped packages offered by both providers could save you money, so be sure to explore your options. Among the many long- distance providers in the Valley are Sprint, AT& T and Vonage. NATURAL GAS Southwest Gas is the primary natural gas provider for the Valley. WATER You can turn on the water for your home by calling your city or visiting its Web site. You can find city phone numbers in the " At a Glance" columns in the Valley profiles found on pages 43- 46 in the Housing chapter. ELECTRICITY Powering up your home is easy — Salt River Project ( SRP) or Arizona Public Service ( APS) serves most Arizona homes. Ask your Realtor or neighbors which company serves your area. If you're from out of state, be prepared for higher bills in the summer. " When we get calls from out- of- state customers, we try to advise them that their summer bills won't be what they were in Iowa," said Mike Udall, manager of SRP's residential call center. If you haven't moved yet and don't have a meter, you will need to call these providers at least 15 business days before your move- in date. TELEVISION: CABLE OPTIONS For television options in the Valley, customers can choose between Qwest and Cox Communications. Both offer packages that may result in cost savings. Qwest's packages include: 1. Choice TV. This option provides digital television through phone lines, so customers receive phone, TV and high-speed Internet service in one package. 2. DirecTV. Residents can also receive satellite television service through Qwest's partnership with DirecTV. Packages from basic to premium offer movies, sports, radio, DVR and international options. Cox offers basic and expanded cable TV with free service on all additional TVs. Its digital cable option offers more than 240 channels of sports, movies, premium TV program-ming, as well as an on- screen interactive program guide with parental control. Also available with digital cable are HDTV, DVR, regional Movies On Demand and Pay- Per- View. Basic, expanded and digital cable all include free local programming. TELEVISION: SATELLITE Along with all of the channels available through cable television, satellite TV offers a variety of options. All DirecTV packages include local channels, digital picture and sound, equipment and installation. It is also the exclusive provider of NFL Sunday Ticket, with more than 200 football games and other special features. DISH Network's DishHD offers more than 70 national HD channels plus local broadcast channels where available — providing more than 200 hours of HD programming every day. Both satellite TV companies offer DVR options, music channels and other unique features. Information compiled by The Arizona Republic The Hook Up Setting up all of your utilities may seem like a daunting task, but this guide can help you get your services started quickly and simply. TELEPHONE/ INTERNET Cox Communications • 623- 594- 1000 • www. cox. com Qwest • 800- 244- 1111 • www. qwest. com LONG DISTANCE PROVIDERS AT& T • 800- 222- 0300 • www. att. com Sprint • 800- 777- 4681 • www. sprint. com Vonage • 800- 705- 7092 • www. vonage. com ELECTRICITY APS • 602- 371- 7171 • www. aps. com SRP • 602- 236- 8888 • www. srpnet. com GAS Southwest Gas • 602- 861- 1999 • www. swgas. com CABLE AND SATELLITE PROVIDERS Cox Communications • 623- 594- 1000 • www. cox. com DirecTV • 888- 238- 7177 • www. directv. com Dish Network • 888- 825- 2557 • www. dishnetwork. com Qwest • 800- 244- 1111 • www. qwest. com UTILITIES AND TELEVISION RESOURCE GUIDE 52 2009 GREATER PHOENIX ULTIMATE GUIDE TO LIVING HERE