What is the difference between big name banks and community banks/credit unions?

There are three types of banks: community or regional banks, credit unions, and national banks. A community or regional bank will serve local consumers and citizens, and often will have less than $500 million in assets. A credit union, on the other hand is a cooperative bank, so it is owned and controlled by the people who bank there. At a community bank or credit union, decisions are made locally and by local employees; you will notice a more personal experience. Big national banks like Wachovia or Bank of America have more than $500 million in assets. You can find branches all over the United States and even internationally, which can make banking easier if you travel or move frequently.