Saturday, November 5, was national Bank Transfer Day, and according to early estimates 7,100 Missourians made the switch and joined a local credit union. Bank Transfer Day is a grassroots effort that encourages consumers to ditch their big bank - and its fees - to join a local credit union or community bank. The campaign has become a nationwide phenomenon that has generated 649,900 new credit union members since September 29.
“Banks have taken advantage of consumers through high fees for too long,” says Mike Beall, president/CEO of Missouri Credit Union Association. “We applaud every consumer’s review of where they do their banking and encourage them to look to a credit union to meet their financial needs.”
Member service has always been a high priority for credit unions. In fact, many Missouri credit unions have made the commitment to service by joining together in the CO-OP Shared Branch network, which has 106 branches throughout the state where consumers can conduct their business. Missouri’s credit union network is steadily gaining on Bank of America’s 133 locations. Consumers can expect to see the same products and services that other financial institutions provide such as savings and checking accounts, debit and credit cards, IRAs, mortgage services, insurance protection, car loans and more. Because credit unions are not-for-profit financial cooperatives that don’t have shareholders, earnings are returned to members in the form of lower loan rates, higher interest rates on deposits and lower fees. Consumers can go here to learn more about joining a credit union.
Rising fees at banks spark national consumer action in advance of November 5 Bank Transfer Day According to estimates released last week by the Credit Union National Association (CUNA) in response to a nationwide survey of 5,000 credit unions, at least 650,000 consumers across the nation have joined credit unions since September 29 (the day Bank of America unveiled its now-rescinded $5 monthly debit card fee). Also during that time, CUNA estimates that credit unions have added $4.5 billion in new savings accounts, likely from the new members and existing members shifting their funds.
The survey results also show that more than four in every five credit unions experiencing member growth since September 29 attributed the growth to consumer reaction to new fees imposed by banks, or a combination of consumer reactions to the new bank fees plus the social media-inspired Bank Transfer Day, November 5.
“These results indicate that consumers are clearly making a smarter choice by moving to credit unions where, on average, they will save about $70 a year in fewer or no fees, lower rates on loans and higher return on savings.” said Bill Cheney, president and CEO of CUNA.
He added that studies have shown people living paycheck to paycheck save even more at a credit union than the average financial institution customer, as they use more credit union services. Cheney said the growth is particularly noticeable at larger credit unions ($100 million or more in assets, which account for about 20 percent of all credit unions – but count about 80 percent of all credit union members).
The CUNA survey shows that more than 70 percent of these credit unions reported they have seen growth in memberships and deposits since Sept. 29. Cheney also noted that searches for credit unions on the website “aSmarterChoice.org” – which includes a search engine to help consumers find a credit union they are eligible to join – continues to surge, with more than 56,000 visitors in October.
“Any day is a good day for a consumer to become a credit union member,” Cheney said. “Saturday, Nov. 5, is one good day to join, and we certainly encourage consumers to make the change. Because when a consumer joins a credit union, he or she takes the first step for themselves, and their families, in moving toward financial freedom.”
In Other Bank Transfer Day News
In the article “There’s a Better Way to Protest Against the Big Banks,” in the October 28 edition of the St. Louis Business Journal, St. Louis Community Credit Union President, Patrick Adams wrote, “I was encouraged by your readers’ answers to a recent Pulse question about monthly debit card fees (Oct. 21-27 issue). Fifty-eight percent of them said they are ‘looking for a new bank’ because of Bank of America’s decision to charge $5 per month for debit card use.”