WASHINGTON (11/2/11 UPDATED 11 a.m. ET)—The movement toward credit unions over the last several weeks has been nothing less than phenomenal and the oncoming Bank Transfer Day—November 5—can be just the beginning for consumers who want to take steps toward financial freedom through credit union membership, Credit Union National Association (CUNA) President/CEO Bill Cheney underscores in a new Huffington Post article.
The strong response of consumers to the Bank Transfer Day goals of taking more control of your finances by moving out of big banks and into credit unions, which are financial cooperatives, is, for the credit union movement, "confirmation of our long-standing tenant that credit unions are 'people helping people,'" Cheney noted in the piece.
"But it doesn't have to end this Saturday. As Kristen Christian -- the founder of Bank Transfer Day – said (in her Oct. 27 Facebook posting): 'November 5th is merely a deadline goal."
Cheney advised consumers that those who join a credit union can expect to save at least $70 through lower rates, higher returns on savings and lower or no fees over a year—just as current credit union members did in the 12 months between June '10 and June '11.
"And that's just on average; consumers who are loyal members of credit unions -- utilizing them extensively -- often receive financial benefits that are much greater than the average," Cheney wrote.
Perhaps the best news out of Bank Transfer Day for consumers, however, is the growing awareness regarding the benefits of credit union membership. CUNA executed a quick study that found tens of thousands of consumers have shifted hundreds of millions of dollar to credit unions since Sept. 29, when Bank of America announced its $5 debit card fee. Use the resource link below to read Cheney's complete Huffington Post article.
Meanwhile, although Bank of American and other megabanks have backed off from their plans to charge for debit card transactions, CUNA—and news media—are warning consumers to stay alert to big bank fees.
As Cheney pointed out earlier this week, consumers should be watchful that banks will figure out ways to make up for the revenue it is forgoing by rescinding its debit card fee.
For instance, NBC Nightly News anchored by Brian Williams with BECU, Tukwila, Wash., said consumers should be on the lookout for "stealth fees," such as increased minimum balances to maintain "free" checking, a fee for using a teller, a fee for receiving a paper statement, and other manipulations.