Credit unions are having a moment.In New York, the NY Post reports they’ve seen a spike in interest, stemming from consumers’ disgust with the onerous fees brought on by the Durbin Ammendment, which put a cap on the fees regular banks could charge merchants per debit swipe.
Now the paper says the Credit Union National Association is seeing a rise in account openings at these oft-feeless institutions, while its information site, ASmarterChoice.org, is attracting more clicks.
“We’ve seen surges in the past; most of the time it drops back down, but this is more sustained and seems to be gaining momentum,” Bill Cheney, president and CEO of CUNA, told the paper.
Perhaps these New Yorkers are on to something.
From decent rates on payday loans to getting reimbursed for using out-of-network ATMs, there is plenty to love about credit unions.
One commenter, heresy101, shared the love in a recent post:
“When my wife who is from China realised that I used my Credit Union for all my banking, she couldn’t understand why I wasn’t using the superior Bank of America. For the last 30 years my ‘bank’ has been my credit union and I have been very happy. After dealing with BofA for a few years and their outrageous fees and service, she is in my camp now! We only keep a BofA account for international money transfers. Everything else is with the credit union, including the mortgage.”
Another reader, Brent, agrees:
“The bank that I left asked me why I was leaving, but did not do anything to encourage me to stay. The most significant factor to switch to a CU is safety. I know that my new CU will not invest in derivatives and other risky stuff. Who knows what is on the bank’s balance sheet?”
Of course, there are plenty of issues to consider before fighting bank inertia to make the move. Many credit unions are local and therefore a burden for overseas travellers. Others may be joined to corporations that you may want nothing to do with.
Take a look at our list of three questions to ask yourself before ditching your big bank, and our roundup of reasons why credit unions might look like a viable alternative. Then tell us: Have you switched to a credit union?