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Far More CUs Than Banks Offer Free Checking

Only 45% of banks offer free checking options vs. 72% of CUs.

August 15, 2012
KEYWORDS account , banks , checking , credit , fees , unions
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Nearly three-fourths (72%) of America’s 50 largest credit unions offer free checking accounts without a minimum balance requirement, according to Bankrate.com’s 2012 Credit Union Checking Survey.

Plus, an additional 10% of these credit unions will waive monthly fees if account holders maintain a minimum balance ranging from $100 to $750.

In comparison, only 45% of banks offer free checking without minimum balance requirements, and banks’ minimum balance requirements tend to be much higher: $585 for noninterest-bearing accounts—and a staggering $5,587 for interest checking accounts.

“Overall, 98% of the credit union checking accounts that we surveyed are either free or can become free if the account holder meets minimum balance, direct deposit, and/or e-statement requirements,” says Greg McBride, CFA, Bankrate.com’s senior financial analyst. “So credit unions remain a viable, consumer-friendly alternative for finding a free checking account.”

Most credit union checking accounts that Bankrate.com surveyed (68%) don’t pay interest. Those that do yield an average of 0.12%, down from 0.17% last year, which is consistent with the ongoing declines seen in cash investments.

Other findings:

  • Credit unions also charge less than banks for overdrafts. The average cost of the first overdraft is $26.65 among credit unions, compared to $30.83 at banks. The most common fees credit unions asses are $25 and $30, compared to $35 at banks.
  • Ninety-six percent of credit unions surveyed charge nonmembers for using their ATMs. The average ATM surcharge is $2.08, versus $2.40 at bank-owned ATMs.

The most common credit union surcharge is $2, compared to $3 at banks.

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Great article! Unfortunately, most employees don’t feel valued or appreciated by their supervisors or employers. In fact, research has shown that the predominant reason team members quit their jobs is because they don’t feel valued. This is in spite of the fact that employee recognition programs have proliferated in the workplace – over 90% of all organizations in the U.S. has some form of employee recognition activities in place. But most employee recognition programs are viewed with skepticism and cynicism – because they aren’t viewed as being genuine in their communication of appreciation. Getting the “employee of the month” award, receiving a certificate of recognition, or a “Way to go, team!” email just don’t get the job done. How do you communicate authentic appreciation? We have found people have different ways that they want to be shown appreciation, and if you don’t communicate in the language of appreciation important to them, you essentially “miss the mark”. Additionally, employees need to receive recognition more than once a year at their performance review. Otherwise, they view the praise as “going through the motions”. A third component of authentic appreciation is that the communication has to be about them personally – not the department, not their group, but something they did. Finally, they have to believe that you mean what you say. How you treat them has to match the words you use. If you are not sure how your team members want to be shown appreciation, the Motivating By Appreciation Inventory (www.appreciationatwork.com/assess) will identify the language of appreciation and specific actions preferred by each employee. You then can create a group profile for your team, so everyone knows how to encourage one another. Remember, employees want to know that they are valued for what they contribute to the success of the organization. And communicating authentic appreciation in the ways they desire it can make the difference between keeping your quality team members or having a negative work environment that everyone wants to leave. Paul White, Ph.D., is the co-author of The 5 Languages of Appreciation in the Workplace with Dr. Gary Chapman.

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