NEW YORK (8/17/09)--Consumers who've had rates raised, accounts closed and fees imposed may want to fire their banks, and one practical option is credit unions, says a columnist with Consumer Affairs (Aug. 12). Mark Huffman. writing on Consumer Affairs' website, says the site has received a "cascade of complaints" about major banks. He asks the question: Is it possible to exist in the 21st century without doing business with a bank? His answer: Maybe, because there do appear to be some alternatives. "Credit unions may provide a more practical alternative to banks, providing many of the same services but without the policies that seem to drive consumers up the wall," wrote Huffman. "They tend to charge…members lower rates when they borrow money and often higher rates on their savings. Like banks, most are federally insured." He discusses the history of credit unions and notes they "tend to be more stable. Since they are membership organizations, they aren't sold and rarely merge with other financial institutions. Some members find that gives them a feeling of safety and security they don't get with a bank." He discusses how to join a credit union, says credit unions have expanded membership so it's easier to join, and notes the Credit Union National Association's website to help consumers searching for a credit union to join.