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CUs share opinions on BTD at NWCUA symposium
BEAVERTON, Ore., and FEDERAL WAY, Wash. (2/21/12--The implications of Bank Transfer Day for credit unions were discussed by about 30 credit union leaders from Washington and Oregon  recently during the Northwest Credit Union Association's (NWCUA) first Leadership Symposium.

Bank Transfer Day and its implications for credit unions were among the topics discussed by Oregon and Washington credit unions recently at the Northwest Credit Union Association's first Leadership Symposium. (Photo provided by the Northwest Credit Union Association)
In a session facilitated by Denise Gabel, chief finance and strategy officer at Madison, Wis.-based Filene Research Institute, credit union CEOs and other leaders were asked if the outcome of Bank Transfer Day helped credit unions or hurt them, said NWCUA (Anthem Feb. 14).

Bank Transfer Day, on Nov. 5, more than 610,000 people switch accounts from large banks to credit unions and community banks on that day, according to Javelin Strategy and Research.

The 2011 membership numbers are being finalized, and annual growth is expected to follow general patterns of recent years, with spikes of growth for larger, marketing-savvy credit unions during last fall's run up to Bank Transfer Day, said NWCUA. Credit unions are waiting to see whether new members gained during the fall will translate to deeper relationships.

A regulator shared the opinion that it was good to see credit union awareness driven by real consumers, instead of by financial institutions and those who regulate them.

While credit unions have been effective in communicating why credit unions are better, said one credit union CEO, the credit union needs members to use both loans and savings. 

A popular refrain from members of the group: "You could not buy the positive publicity we go."

The CEO of a smaller credit union noted while her credit union didn't see a huge increase in membership, existing members opened more checking accounts. She called it a "great opportunity for us to build on" and added, "don't let it die."

The leadership group concluded that in the end, Bank Transfer Day presents an ongoing opportunity to market not merely membership but the full line of credit union products and services to new members, said NWCUA.

A regulator shared the opinion that it was good to see credit union awareness driven by real consumers, instead of by financial institutions and those who regulate them.


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