Friday, 4 November, 2011 1:38 AM
of Thousands of Consumers, Billions of $$ Move to Credit Unions
fees at banks spark consumer action during October in run-up to
'Bank Transfer Day'
woman holds a sign protesting corporate greed inside a Wells
Reacting to rising fees at banks, hundreds of thousands
of consumers have rushed to credit unions over the past four weeks,
and have joined existing credit union members in depositing or shifting
billions of savings to credit unions, according to estimates released
today by the Credit Union National Assn. (CUNA), the nation's largest
credit union advocacy group.
Based on the responses
of a nationwide survey of 5,000 credit unions, CUNA estimates that
at least 650,000 consumers across the nation have joined credit
unions since Sept. 29 (the day Bank of America unveiled its now-rescinded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
The survey results also
show that more than four in every five credit unions experiencing
member growth since Sept. 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," Nov. 5.
"Bank Transfer Day"
urges consumers to transfer their accounts from banks to credit
unions by Saturday, Nov. 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, the Washington, D.C.-based
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 (those with $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 noted that many
credit unions across the nation – whether they are realizing
new members or not –are making special efforts to tap the
surging interest in credit unions.
"They are conducting
advertising campaigns (by themselves or cooperatively with other
credit unions), sending 'switch kits' to existing members to share
with family members or other prospective members, beefing up web
sites, extending hours and staffing for this Saturday (Nov. 5),
performing email blasts to members, maximizing social media campaigns,
putting up banners in lobbies (and on their buildings), offering
bonuses to members who bring in new members (and giving bonuses
to new members as well)," Cheney said.
"They are doing
whatever their resources will allow them to do to help serve this
consumer surge in interest in credit unions."
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."
With its network of affiliated
state credit union leagues, Credit Union National Association (CUNA)
serves about 90 percent of America's 7,400 state and federally chartered
credit unions, which are owned by nearly 92 million consumer members.
Credit unions are not-for-profit cooperatives providing affordable
financial services to people from all walks of life. For more information
about CUNA, visit www.cuna.org.
For more information about credit unions, visit www.aSmarterChoice.org
and follow @asmarterchoice
Source: Credit Union