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The real difference--media spotlight on CUs
MADISON, Wis. (2/18/10)--Monday's deadline for certain provisions of the Credit Card Accountability, Responsibility and Disclosure (CARD) Act presented a flurry of opportunities for media coverage of credit unions' lower rates. At least five credit card-related articles in the past two days brought consumers' attention to credit unions. That's on top of a two-week long media spree that featured national publications discussing credit unions related to credit cards, member business lending, and an anti-big bank consumer movement to "Move Your Money" to credit unions. Two separate stories, written by CreditCards.com staff, were published by Fox Business's website. Entitled "One in 10 has given up--or lost--credit cards in the past eight months," it reports a survey by the Consumer Federation of America and the Credit Union National Association (CUNA) that found most Americans don't clearly understand the CARD Act and its implications (foxbusiness.com Feb. 15). In it, CUNA Chief Economist Bill Hampel explains that it's no wonder consumers are confused. "They've been inundated by changes," he said. "Given the significant volume of mailings consumers have received from the credit card companies and the number of pages that are in those mailings, actually knowing what changes are involved is no trivial feat." The CFA/CUNA study is also cited in a second article, "White House to answer consumer questions about Credit CARD Act," about consumers' unawareness of the new protections in the act (foxbusiness.com Feb. 15). In The Lantern, Ohio State University alumna Jamie Chase, co-inventor of American Debt Relief Challenge, says Americans who took the challenge saved $20 million by transferring their debt from banks to credit unions. She compares typical bank interest rates (18%-20%) with credit unions' rates (6%-12%). "Banks exist to make a profit. Credit unions are more like libraries; they only exist to serve," Chase told the publication. She added, "They only exist to make life better, and a lot of people don't know that." Chase also mentioned a credit union program in Mali, West Africa and the PBS's BizKid$ money management show for children that is underwritten by credit unions. "Credit Union Credit Cards May Bring Better Rates and Lower Fees Than Banks," an article in the blog, Red, White, and Blue Press, advises several times to look into a local credit union and compare rates and fees on credit cards. "On average, customers of a credit union with a credit union credit card are getting better rates and fees than at banks." The article also discusses how credit unions are different from banks (rbwpress.com Feb. 16). An Associated Press article addressed to consumers fed up with their bank's credit card fees and terms and asking "Would switching to a credit union bring any relief?" is still making the rounds after the initial article was published in The New York Times early last week. The latest version surfaced Monday in the Grand Junction Free Press.
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