WASHINGTON (11/9/11)--Credit unions brought in 40,000 in new members, and added $80 million in new savings account funds, on last Saturday's Bank Transfer Day, capping a month that resulted in nearly 700,000 new credit union members joining the movement.
A Credit Union National Association (CUNA) survey of 1,100 credit unions found that around 80% of larger credit unions said they signed up new members on Bank Transfer Day, and many credit unions opened on Saturday, or extended their usual Saturday hours, to deal with the rush of new members. Credit unions surveyed said they made $90 million in new loans on Saturday.
CUNA President/CEO Bill Cheney said the survey response indicates momentum that credit unions realized in the weeks leading up to Bank Transfer Day continued right into Nov. 5 itself, with a specific spike in membership on that day.
The build up to Bank Transfer Day saw around 650,000 people join credit unions in the last month, adding $4.5 billion in new savings into credit union coffers. The 650,000 total tops the membership total recorded in all of 2010. "Since Sept. 29 – the day Bank of America announced its now-rescinded monthly $5 debit card fee – average estimated membership increases nationally were around 20,000 new members each day, " Cheney said. "On Saturday, consumers doubled the pace. It's clear that consumers kept up their interest in credit unions."
"Consumers should be given more credit for being smart about what to do with their money," Cheney said. "Many obviously did not wait for a specific day, but took the time to make the change to a credit union in a deliberate manner. Consumers made a smarter choice."
Cheney said the additional lending credit unions realized on Saturday was an especially encouraging sign, for credit unions and consumers. "This nation needs more economic activity to get back on its feet; credit unions are ready and willing to help gets things moving. Perhaps credit unions and their new members got things started on Nov. 5."