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CO-OP to CUs BofA ATM cutbacks provide opportunity
RANCHO CUCAMONGA, Calif. (7/26/12)--With Bank of America shutting down 9% of its ATM fleet, "credit unions should jump at the opportunity to get the message across" that they offer more convenience with access to nearly 30,000 surcharge-free ATMs, said CO-OP Financial Services, which is developing a new ad campaign to tout credit unions' ATMs.

The Charlotte, N.C.-based BofA said in a regulatory filing it has shut down 1,500 ATMs this year, leaving it with 16,200 ATMs as of the end of June (Los Angeles Times July 24).

BofA's cutback is "pretty significant" and "is more than just a cost-cutting measure," said Kimberly Hester, executive vice president of network services at Rancho Cucamonga, Calif.-based CO-OP Financial Services. "This shows that BofA is going in a different direction than the past of touting convenience," she told News Now.

The cutback puts BofA behind JPMorgan Chase & Co, which has more than 18,000 ATMs. Neither has as many as credit unions' ATM network, she added.

Most of the cutbacks are in off-premise ATMs located at malls and where shops are located.  CO-OP Network has off-premises ATMs too--at 7-Eleven, Costco and Walgreen's locations. "BofA is moving away from these to having full-service ATMs just at their branches. They look at it as an expense. We look at it as a convenience," Hester said.

"The bank is going after consumers with higher balances and who have more services with the bank and can make the bank a profit. It is serving less the people who need to access cash and who are less profitable," she added.

"We need to tout the opportunities and highlight the power of cooperation and advantages [of credit union surcharge-free ATMs] to consumers so they become [credit union] members," she said.  "We may have another Bank Transfer Day when consumers realize they are getting fewer convenience services. The banks are taking away, while the consumers keep giving back."

BofA's  cutback "is not  a beginning of a trend;  it's a continuation of a trend."  She noted that credit unions certainly won't follow suit in cutting out ATMs.  "It's an excellent opportunity to highlight the competitive advantage" of credit unions.  Of the surcharge-free credit unions CO-OP has in credit unions and in retail spaces, 9,000 take deposits.

"CO-OP has a brand new, free consumer marketing campaign promoting the convenience of its 30,000 ATMs.  Clients can access the campaign materials on CO-OP's Ad Lab next week," she told News Now.

Use the resource link below next week to check for it. At the top of the home page, in the red bar, hover over "For You" and click on "Marketing/Ad Lab" on the drop-down menu. Users will see a catalog of available materials and can click thumbnails of each campaign.  If they click to download, they will be prompted for their extranet user ID and password.
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