News & Resources

Consumers moving to credit unions to avoid checking, debit fees

Nov 04, 2011 Walt Wojoiechowski

Credit unions throughout the country are beginning to pounce on a number of recent revenue-generation maneuvers by the nation's largest banks, seeing an opportunity to convert customers and attract new business. Top financial institutions such as Bank of America, Citibank and SunTrust have announced plans to introduce new fees on debit cards and checking accounts - moves that have prompted many consumers to move their money somewhere else. Credit unions and community banks with assets of less than $10 billion have the advantage now because they are exempt from new government regulations that cap "swipe" fees on debit card transactions. However, conditions may change if trends continue. "Analysts say there is no guarantee that credit unions will hold the line on fees, especially if the economy continues to sour," explains Danielle Douglas for the Washington Post. "What's more, the institutions have their own regulations to contend with." A number of consumer advocates (and credit union supporters) have designated November 5 "Bank Transfer Day" and called on customers to transfer banks or switch to credit unions to avoid the new fees.