TUCSON, Ariz. (11/23/10)--Some credit unions and small banks in the Tucson, Ariz., area have used the financial crisis to encourage consumers to switch financial institutions from large banks, according to the Arizona Daily Star (Nov. 20). John Praytor, who lives in Sahuarita, Ariz., switched to Tucson FCU from Chase Bank when the bank continued to charge him after he paid off his home mortgage. His rationale was that the credit union is local and has a branch in Sahuarita, the newspaper said. By taking that action, Praytor followed the advice of activists who began the “Move Your Money” campaign in The Huffington Post a year ago. The campaign urges people to move their funds to smaller local institutions from large regional and national banks, the paper said. U.S. credit unions had an estimated 9.2% share of the household savings market at the end of 2008, and by September, that had risen to 10%, Pat Keefe, vice president of communications for the Credit Union National Association, told the paper. Credit unions’ slice of the consumer loan pie went to 9.3% in September--peaking at 9.6 % at the end of 2009--from 9.1% at the end of 2008, Keefe added. Because they have roots and a local presence, credit unions are “kind of like the banking from [the movie] ‘It’s a Wonderful Life,”’ Ray Lancaster, president of Pyramid FCU in Tucson, told the paper. By working hard to differentiate themselves from banks in light of the recent bad news about problems with big banks, credit unions have capitalized on “an opportunity to remind the customer of the difference” between them and banks, Michael Hudson, a consultant who runs the website CreditUnionStrategy.com, told the paper. To read the article, use the link.