Credit Unions Reap 650,000 New Members Weary of Big Bank Fees

Many consumers did more than raise their voices after Bank of America announced a planned $5 debit card fee a few weeks ago — they jumped ship and joined a credit union, according to a survey by the Credit Union National Association (CUNA).
At least 650,000 consumers nationwide left traditional banking behind in favor of credit cooperatives were lower-to-no fees and lower lending rates are often advantages of membership.  And they did it even before tomorrow’s Bank Transfer Day, which social media organizers herald as the day consumers should switch to a credit union or smaller community bank.
This week, Bank of America retreated after intense consumer backlash and dumped plans for the debit card fee on purchases. Chase, Wells Fargo and other big banks preceded BofA’s reversal, deciding to abandon their own plans for debit card fees.
CUNA couldn’t have asked for a more effective promotion than the action of Bank of America, which has given credit unions a newly appreciated status among consumers.
“The (survey) 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 CUNA President/CEO Bill Cheney.
CUNA said that credit unions have added an estimated $4.5 billion in new savings accounts since Sept. 29, the day Bank of America made public their plans for the fee
The association said that more than four in every five credit unions that saw growth since Sept. 29 attributed the increases to consumer reaction to new fees imposed by banks, or a combination of consumer reactions to the new fees and Bank Transfer Day.

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