As tumultuous of year as 2011 was, it could not have been better for credit unions and small banks. A general trend toward community financial institutions emerged this year, but the shift was stoked even more by rising discontent with major banks and the slew of fees they attempted to impose on customers.
According to the American Customer Satisfaction Index, credit unions climbed 8.7 percent to reach 87 points (out of 100) - the highest score ever attained by any of the 47 industries in the annual ACSI report. "At a time when consumers are increasingly critical of for-profit financial institutions, it is important for not-for-profit, member-owned credit unions to survive and prosper and for all consumers to have access to credit union membership," said Stephen Brobeck, executive director of the Consumer Federation of America. The report also noted that banks lost some ground in the report, falling 7 percent to reach a reading of 75 points, which is on par with recession-era findings. Last month, consumer groups promoted "Bank Transfer Day" - a date aimed at motivating consumers to move their finances to small banks and credit unions.