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Online retailer fed up with bank, moves biz to CU
TEMPE, Ariz. (1/30/13)--Fed up with big banks, and striving to reach a higher level of service for its business and customers, online retailer One Mall Group announced it is moving its financial business to local Desert Schools FCU in Phoenix from a national banking conglomerate. 

Moe Kittaneh, chief financial officer and president of One Mall Group in Tempe, Ariz., announced the move Friday.

"Recently, our experience with big banks was becoming a daily struggle, being bounced around from department to department with frequent constructed issues," Kittaneh said in a press release. "It became evident that they did not value our business or the art of customer service in general. I began looking into other options both local and national; what drew me to credit unions, and Desert Schools in particular, was the one-on-one service, competitive accounts, and the distinct feeling that my business would be valued."

At a time when big banks rank low in public opinion and favorability, credit unions saw record increases in membership over the past couple years. In reporting its decision to migrate, One Mall Group cited that trend, and a mounting dissatisfaction with the practices and operations of big corporate banks, such as raising fees and lackluster customer care.

At the end of October 2011--prior to the Bank Transfer Day on Nov. 5, 2011--the Credit Union National Association reported 93.6 million credit union memberships. At the end of November 2012, CUNA reported 96.1 million memberships. So nationwide growth was 2.7% in 13 months, CUNA's Economic and Statistics Department told News Now.

"Moe Kittaneh came in and was not satisfied with the service he was getting at his bank," Mike Foreman, Desert Schools vice president of retail sales and branch operations, told News Now. "Also, Kittaneh was not happy with fees related to his account.

"It seems like the situation here was his business was frustrated with its experiences at the bank, and pleasantly surprised that our credit union could fulfill his needs," Foreman added.

One Mall Group opted to publicly announce the change to inspire other small and mid-size businesses to consider local options when deciding on banking institutions. It said the partnership will provide it better treatment and more personal service. Also, the company anticipates improved efficiency in both employee and front-end business operations.

"I really liked the idea of using a local institution and being able to meet in person with those handling our accounts," Kittaneh said. "Not only does it help the local economy, it provides us, and thus our customers, a greater level of responsiveness and care. The Desert Schools' merchant account specialist I worked with was very professional and helpful throughout the entire process, and we look forward to a successful business partnership with the credit union."
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