NEW YORK (12/29/11)--National Public Radio's (NPR) year-end review highlighting people, movements and ideas that had a good year featured a seven-minute look at credit unions Tuesday, in a segment entitled "Credit Unions Booming From Anti-Bank Outrage."
The program aired on "Tell Me More," anchored by Michel Martin and noted the Credit Union National Association's statistics, since revised, on the movement's membership growth as well as credit unions' seven-point jump to a record high 87 in the most recent customer satisfaction index.
In the segment, personal finance consultant Alvin Hall told how credit unions are different from banks: the fact they are nonprofit cooperatives that can't issue shares and use their money for the benefit of members.
The interview turned to consumers' anger over bank fees. Hall noted that consumers were told by banks to stop writing checks and use a debit card, and reacted when banks suddenly added fees. "They saw this as the banks using the small guy, the guy who may not be able to maintain that minimum balance, as the source of revenues. And people said, 'I've had enough.'" The result was Bank Transfer Day, which urged big bank customers to switch to small banks and creditunions.
Hall also said credit unions may not be as accessible in some places and they don't have as many branches but they can be part of a broad network. He also noted that people like credit unions because they are "much more personal. They're not there to exploit you." He advised that before switching, do the research to make sure fees are lower and the services are convenient.