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Consumers flock to Wisconsin CUs for better rates service
PEWAUKEE, Wis. (8/12/09)--Consumers are flocking to Wisconsin credit unions for better rates and personal service--many of the same reasons cited in the August issue of Kiplinger’s Personal Finance magazine--said the Wisconsin Credit Union League. “Big banks want your money, too, but they’re turning customers off with higher fees and tighter lending--not to mention stress tests and troubled assets,” Kiplinger’s said. “They continue to raise fees, even as the grab for business intensifies and consumers are more cost-conscious.” In Wisconsin, interest payments on a credit union’s 60-month $25,000 car loan would be $830 less than from a bank, according to CUNA economists. “Consumers are fed up,” says Brett Thompson, league president/CEO. “Even people with good credit feel they’re being punished by banks looking to boost profits, especially prior to new federal credit card rules being implemented. They’re not waiting. They’re seeking refuge now.” Wisconsin credit unions have benefited from the trend, he added. Wisconsin credit unions experienced some of the largest membership growth among member-owned financial institutions nationwide, as of the end of 2008. And as of the first quarter, 250 Wisconsin credit unions saw their assets grow 15.74% and savings grow by 26.11%. Regulators have cited this performance as a good sign in a still-unstable economy, the league said. “Because credit unions are owned by the members who do business with them--not shareholders--consumers are realizing they’re going to get a better deal because of that,” Thompson said. “We think as more consumers discover the financial benefits of this difference in institutions, the trend will only intensify.” The magazine touts credit unions’ lower fees by citing statistics from the Credit Union National Association (CUNA) that reveal the difference between what credit unions and banks charge for services. On average, credit unions charge $25 for overdrafts while banks charge $30. Credit unions charge $20 for a late credit card payment while banks’ fees are $35. The publication also cited credit unions’ typically lower rates for auto loans.
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