Estimated 650,000 have joined credit unions in recent weeks, will you?

November 04, 2011|Eileen Ambrose

Tomorrow is the Bank Transfer Day, a campaign on Facebook to get bank customers fed up with fees to switch to a nonprofit credit union by Saturday.

Now, the Credit Union National Association figures that since Sept. 29 — when word got out that Bank of America was proposing a $5 monthly debit card fee starting next year — at least 650,000 consumers have joined credit unions nationwide. CUNA also estimates that $4.5 billion has been deposited in new savings accounts at credit unions over that time. The trade group says it is likely from new and existing members transferring money to credit unions.

Also, CUNA says its survey shows that more than 80 percent of credit unions experienced growth since late September.

Since the blowback over the debit card fee, Bank of America and some other major banks have announced they won't charge one.

If you’re still inclined to make a switch to a credit union or small community bank, ask if it offers Deluxe Corp.’s “SwitchAgent.” The company recently launched a program that financial institutions can buy that will help their customers change direct deposit and automatic billing from one institution to another. One reason that consumers rarely switch banks is the hassle factor. It’s time-consuming to change and tedious to make the switch.

Susan Eick, vice president of program innovation at Deluxe, told me through software and concierge service takes over the time-consuming and tedious task. It starts by getting the customers' authorization to make all the changes for them. SwitchAgent does the job in 22 days, Eick says, while it takes a consumer six to eight weeks to do so.

Deluxe’s service is just getting started, but if many institutions adopt it, consumers are likely to be even less loyal to their bank in the future.



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