WASHINGTON (11/2/12)--Did last year's Bank Transfer Day have a lasting impact? "When you look at the numbers, it's hard to conclude otherwise," Credit Union National Association (CUNA) President/CEO Bill Cheney said in a Thursday column in The Huffington Post.
Last year's Bank Transfer Day on Nov. 5 gained significant social and traditional media attention, and spurred the greatest period of credit union membership growth in more than a decade, Cheney said. Credit unions added nearly 2.2 million new members in the 12-month period ended June 30, 2012, a total that is almost double the 1.2 million average growth credit unions have seen in similar 12-month periods over the past decade, he added.
The number of new checking accounts opened at credit unions also increased rapidly during this time period, totaling nearly 2.9 million. Further, hits on CUNA's consumer web site, aSmarterChoice.org, totaled 70,000 the day before Bank Transfer Day, and 40,000 on Bank Transfer Day itself. In the months that followed, the traffic has leveled off, but at a higher level than before--about 5,000 to 6,000 visits a week, Cheney wrote.
"Many of the people who have opened these new accounts at credit unions are younger, fee-conscious, and discovering most credit unions still offer free checking and lower fees generally," the CUNA CEO said. Consumers also found that many credit unions offer the services, access and convenience of large banks, "but in a decidedly consumer-friendly way, and with the kind of roots in their local communities that comes from being member-owned cooperatives," Cheney added.
And these new members are talking about their great credit union experiences in person and in social media outlets, "perpetuating [the] long stretch of new-member growth."
"All this suggests Bank Transfer Day and consumers' negative reaction to high bank fees was not a short-lived affair, but something more sustained," Cheney said. The one-year anniversary of Bank Transfer Day is this Monday.
For the full HuffPost story, use the resource link.