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IL.A. TimesI and IAPI offer advice on switch to CUs
LOS ANGELES and NEW YORK (2/9/10)--Prominent newspapers and a news service--the Los Angeles Times and the Associated Press via The New York Times--featured articles this weekend with advice about switching credit cards and checking accounts to credit unions. In Sunday's Los Angeles Times, finance columnist Liz Pulliam Weston answered a question from a reader who wanted "to stop supporting the greedy banking industry by changing my checking account from a big bank to my local credit union." The reader asked what would he have to give up to use a credit union. "You may not have to give anything up, and you may gain a few things, depending on how you bank," Pulliam wrote. She discusses the structure of credit unions, the fact that many consumers are drawn to credit unions because of better rates and lower fees "compared with those charged at banks." Pulliam advises that before switching, the consumer "review your transactions over the past few months and think about what loans or services you're likely to need in the future. Make a list and ask your credit union what it provides and what fees it charges." An Associated Press article in Monday's New York Times asks if switching to a credit union would bring any relief for consumers fed up by their bank's credit card fees and terms. It quotes statistics from the Credit Union National Association and from a recent study by the Pew Charitable Trusts citing lower rates at credit unions. "Many don't realize that credit unions are nonprofits owned by their members. The result is that they tend to offer more favorable terms," said the article. However, anyone making a switch can expect trade-offs and limitations, the article noted. Some credit unions might not have specific services such as rewards programs for credit cards. "If you're considering a credit card from a credit union, however, chances are that your main concerns are fees and rates." "Whether the lower fees and rates make it worth switching over to a credit union depends on your habits," said the article. "If you regularly carry a balance, the difference in financing charges may add up quickly." To access the articles, use the links.
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