7 banks that are still awesome

While other banks are busy hiking fees, these financial institutions are bucking the trend by offering free checking and other perks.

Alliant Credit Union
Alliant Credit Union

Alliant is one of the largest credit unions in the United States. And while it's located in Illinois, residents in any state can join if they meet certain requirements.

To become a member, you need to either work for one of more than 175 qualifying companies and organizations, including Google, JetBlue and 1-800-Flowers, or simply make a one-time donation of $10 or more to Foster Care to Success.

The credit union offers a checking account with no monthly service fee and no minimum balance requirement.

While the basic free checking account doesn't pay interest automatically, you can easily earn a competitively high annual percentage yield, or APY, of 1.10% on your checking account if you opt out of paper statements and make at least one online deposit per month.

Customers can also access a nationwide network of more than 80,000 ATMs for use without charge.

By Blake Ellis - Last updated October 13 2011: 7:03 PM ET
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