Re: checks, my credit union does offer cheap checks past the starter checks. The free checks are reserved for employees. I know this because by a strict technicality (CU has majority ownership stake in my company) I am an employee.
Re: overhead lighting, the apartment I lived in before (and nearly every other apartment I've been in) only has overhead lighting in the bedrooms where there's a ceiling fan and they already had to run power to it. Usually hallways, kitchens, and bathrooms have overhead lighting, and bedrooms with no fans and any other living area (dining room, living room) don't have any built-in lighting.
The apartment I'm in now has overhead lighting in the bedroom, but with no fan, lighting in the bathroom, kitchen, and the hallway, but nothing in the living room. It's the only place I've seen where they light the bedroom without a fan, and the only lamp I have is a bedside table lamp. It's perched on the back of the TV, and whenever I'm at home in the evenings I'll have to open the blinds to the patio and turn that light on, in addition to the lamp, hallway light, and kitchen light. That's the only way I have to light the living room a sufficient amount to get by.