CUs Gear Up for Bank Transfer Day

Banks’ debit fee misstep drives thousands of consumers to CUs.

November 04, 2011
KEYWORDS bank , card , debit , fees , transfer
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CUs pledge fair prices

In Minnesota, 83 credit unions have pledged to continue offering fairly priced banking services, including debit card fees, in the wake of major banks’ decision to increase debit card fees (and their subsequent reversal).

This declaration is an extension of credit unions’ mission to put the needs of individuals above making a profit. A list of credit unions that signed the pledge is available online. It states:

“I pledge to uphold the credit union philosophy of ‘people helping people’ by continuing to offer fairly-priced banking services to our members. In addition, I pledge that my credit union will abstain from charging a fee for members to use our debit cards for as long as market conditions allow us to do so.”

CUNA estimates that, over the last year (12 months ending June 2011), the average Minnesota credit union member saved $76 ($144 per household) by using a credit union instead of a bank. That’s just an average—the more business members do with credit unions, the more they save.

“Our cooperative structure is unique among financial institutions,” says Mark Cummins, president/CEO of the Minnesota Credit Union Network. “While other financial institutions exist to maximize profits for their shareholders, credit unions exist to maximize their service to members. This unique business model is causing many consumers to consider joining their local credit union.”

The switch is on

Michigan Schools and Government Credit Union, Clinton, Township, Mich., will provide switch kits for frustrated bank customers at any of its nine branches.

Eligible members can visit one of its branches between 9 a.m. and 1 p.m. to set up new accounts. Plus, the credit union will offer a new-member bonus by matching deposits up to $25 for members who open checking accounts.

Members will also display their name on a wall of new members who’ve walked away from their banks.

“Bank Transfer Day is an opportunity for people to start setting it right by taking back control of their own money,” says Peter Gates, CEO of Michigan Schools and Government Credit Union. “We’re hoping that this day allows people to discover that credit unions are a better alternative to profit-driven banks.

“People are tired of fees,” he continues. “Times are tough enough, and people should not have to pay unfair banking fees that can cost an upwards of $25 a month at some big banks.”

Members can also download an online switch kit to make the transition from bank to credit union.

What's the difference?

Watch Teresa Halleck, president/CEO at San Diego County Credit Union, explain the difference between banks and CUs:

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