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Washington
Charlotte Folks in street know CUs
CHARLOTTE, N.C. (9/5/12)--Charlotte, N.C., as well as being host to this week's Tuesday-through-Thursday Democratic National Convention for which the opening gavel fell at 5 p.m. (ET) Tuesday, is corporate home to Bank of America.

However, while BoA headquarters may dominate the Charlotte skyline, random person-in-the-street interviews during the DNC's opening CarolinaFest event Monday show that Carolinians know their credit unions.

While skeptical enough about being approached by a reporter for the Credit Union National Association's daily online news service, News Now, to almost universally declining to be quoted by name or photographed (with the exception of Barbara Malloy, who identified herself as a Charlotte resident), about a dozen people approached at the festival were glad to share their thoughts about credit unions.

The majority of those interviewed--like Malloy--claimed membership in a North Carolina credit union.

They cited the following positives in their credit union relationships:

  • Generally better rates on savings and on loans;
  • More personal service;
  • Friendly;
  • Willing to help;
  • More willing to lend (one man interviewed became a credit union fan after being turned down for credit by local banks, then finding a credit union that, he said, got to know him well enough to lend to him;
  • Good for student loans;
  • Good for car loans; and
  • More open to personal stories to establish a relationship.
All was not perfect for credit unions, however, in these on-the-spot interviews. A lack of understanding about field-of-membership rules came through loud and clear from the first young woman asked if she knew credit unions. She indicated she was still angry that she was denied membership a few years ago at a credit union at which her roommate was a member.

When a CUNA representative asked if she might be interested in a website, aSmarterchoice.org, which would help her find a credit union or credit unions she could join, she adamantly waved off the information declaring,"No longer interested!"

Another credit union feature that lacked clarity among the Charlotte residents was credit unions' shared branching networks. When one interviewee lamented that she was "no longer a member" of a credit union that had moved out of her area, she was asked if she knew about shared branching.

"I don't know….," she said. "It has to be convenient to do my banking."


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