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League highlights CU difference on Wisconsin radio
PEWAUKEE, Wis. (3/29/12)--The Wisconsin Credit Union League highlighted some of the differences between credit unions and banks, the effect of Bank Transfer Day (BTD), and savings realized by credit union members in a radio segment with Milwaukee area radio station WUWM.

The theme of the "Lake Effect" show was how credit unions have benefitted after many banks--most notably Bank of America--received heat from consumers for either raising fees or announcing intentions to increase fees for accountholders.  

Show host Ed Makowski asked guest Christine Henzig, Wisconsin league director of communications, how credit unions keep money local.

"Credit unions keep money local by returning their earnings to their full membership and in terms of how they price financial services," Henzig replied.   

In 2011, Wisconsin credit unions saved consumers $201 million through competitive rates, savings on loans, and lower and fewer fees, she added.

The fundamental difference between credit unions and banks is that credit unions are locally owned and run democratically by their members, who are owners, Henzig said.

Makowski asked Henzig about the results of BTD.  "BTD was a great opportunity for credit unions to make consumers aware of savings they can get through membership at their financial institutions," Henzig said.

About 40,000 new members joined credit unions nationwide on BTD, she added. Also, 441,000 new members joined credit unions in the two months prior to BTD, according to Credit Union National Association estimates. "That represents 75% of all credit union member growth in all of 2010," Henzig said.

When asked if credit unions advertise the way banks do, Henzig replied that although credit unions do advertise in traditional ways, their best advertising comes through social media and word of mouth.

"Credit unions give members better rates and better treatment. People have been abuzz about that, and that's been the best form of advertising over the past couple of years," she concluded.
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