WASHINGTON (11/2/11)--Although Bank of America on Tuesday announced that it would cancel plans to charge a $5 per month fee to debit card account holders, Credit Union National Association (CUNA) President/CEO Bill Cheney said the damage to Bank of America has already been done, and warned consumers that the bank would figure out a way to make up for the revenue it is forgoing by rescinding its debit card fee.
More than 7,000 credit unions have reported membership application increases following Bank of America's September monthly debit fee announcement, and CUNA surveys show that eight out of 10 credit unions still offer at least one free checking account with no minimum balance requirement and no maintenance or activity fees.
The public outrage over the practices of Bank of America and other large banks has resulted in an influx of new credit union members and increased news coverage for credit unions nationwide. Cheney said this emphasis on credit unions over the last several weeks "has been phenomenal" and serves "as confirmation of our long-standing tenet that credit unions are 'people helping people,' and the best choice for American consumers.
"If nothing else, this extraordinary period has exposed more people to the value of credit unions – which we hope will translate to longer-term relationships. Indeed, by what we are hearing from our member credit unions across the nation, tens of thousands of consumers have already made the change to credit unions, bringing with them hundreds of millions of dollars of savings," Cheney added.
Consumers nationwide reportedly plan to switch from bank to credit union accounts this Saturday, Nov. 5, but Cheney said this pro-credit union march doesn't have to end this Saturday. "Any day is a good day for a consumer to become a credit union member."