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Spotlight stays on CUs as alternative to banks


MADISON, Wis. (10/25/11)--U.S. consumers continue to seek out credit unions as an  alternative to numerous and high fees at banks, according to media nationwide.

"'Move Your Money' was good for credit unions, there's no question. But this seems to be a more visceral reaction this time," said Bill Cheney, president/CEO of the Credit Union National Association. "People aren't just doing it because they like credit unions, they're doing it because they're mad at their bank" (Associated Press Oct. 21).

An increasing number of customers are angry at big banks because of new debit card-use fees, increasing ATM surcharges and more checking account fees, the AP said.

Some examples of credit unions and the credit union movement highlighted in the media include:

  • BethPage (N.Y.) FCU, located on Long Island, N.Y., is offering new members a guaranteed "fee free" checking  account for life  (The New York Times Oct. 20). Members opening a BethPage Bonus checking account can be certain of a lifetime of no monthly maintenance fees, no debit card fees, no transaction fees and no fee charges by the credit union for use of other financial institutions'  ATMs. Also, BethPage will not charge any fees for online mobile or telephone  banking.
  • Consumers should switch to credit unions and community banks in protest of actions of large banks, said The Christian Science Monitor (Oct. 21). "Bank of America's $5 per month debit-card fee is just the tip of the iceberg," the Monitor said. Big banks are starting to charge fees for what used to be basic services. In protest, switch to a community bank or credit union. It's more convenient than camping out with the Occupy Wall Street Protestors."
  • Rogue FCU in Medford, Ore., has had its seven operating branches open 1,000 new accounts from Sept. 1 to Oct. 15--roughly 300 more than it normally would see in that period, Gene Pelham, Rogue president said (Mail Tribune Oct. 22). Local demonstrations related to the Occupy Wall Street protest has had a definite role in the increased business the credit union has seen, Pelham added.


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