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MADISON, Wis. (2/24/10)--The advantages of credit union-issued credit cards were the subject of several national media-outlet reports Monday, including CBS News, The New York Times and CNNMoney.com. Ondine Irving is a credit card consultant who works with credit unions nationwide to develop a fair and ethical credit card program for consumers. Her work with First Community FCU in Kalamazoo, Mich., was the subject of a report on Monday’s CBS Evening News with Katie Couric. The $405 million-asset First Community sold it credit card portfolio in 2001-2002, but after some concern was expressed by its members, it decided to take back its card business. The credit union realized it could run a credit card program better, more ethically and more effectively than a bank, Irving told CBS. At credit unions, “profits go back to members in terms of lower loan rates and better savings rates,” she said. Meanwhile, bank profits go to pay banks’ “enormous marketing expenses and huge bonuses to CEOs and executive staff,” Irving added. While only about 50% of U.S. credit unions issue credit cards, credit unions generally keep their interest rates under 18%, charge late fees of $25 and under, have no penalty pricing, and no balance transfers charged, Irving said. Credit unions do all that and make money; banks also could do that, but they choose not to, she added. To see the video, use the link. In a Monday article about banks pressuring customers on overdraft fees as provisions of the Credit Card Accountability, Responsibility and Disclosure Act take effect, The New York Times ends with a favorable contrast of a credit union’s consumer-friendly approach compared with some other financial institutions. “At least one credit union is using the new Fed rules to try to differentiate itself from its competitors,” the Times said. “On its website, the UW CU in Madison, Wis., says, ‘While we expect some financial institutions may aggressively market the idea of a consumer opt in within the boundaries of this regulation, we have no such plans.’” To read the article, use the link. Credit unions tend to have lower fees and better rates, CNN.Money.com said Monday, specifically citing Pentagon FCU, Alexandria, Va., for terms of its Visa Gold card and Navy FCU, Vienna, Va., for its CashRewards card. To read the article, use the link.
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