Checking Fees Drive Americans to Credit Unions in Record Numbers
If you’re one of the millions of Americans who became fed up with increasing penalties and checking fees at big banks and switched to a credit union in the past year, you’re not alone.
The appearance of checking fees- after years of “free checking accounts” dominated the banking landscape- is only one of the insults the caused users to flock to credit unions and similar institutions in the past year. Many Americans became fed up at what they saw as a predatory and never-satisfied profit churning banking system, and the invention of new fees to replace outlawed ones is one of the reasons many cried “uncle” with the big banks.
Christian Science Monitor quoted the head of the National Association of Federal Credit Unions Fred Becker, who indicated that the American consumer is ”going to be playing bank fee Whack-a-Mole for the foreseeable future,” and that in the end, “people are going to switch” to credit unions.
But it’s not just the customer getting frustrated with high checking fees on formerly low or no-fee accounts- the newly created Consumer Financial Protection Bureau’s head Richard Cordray said his organization is on the lookout for bad behavior on the part of banks:
“Deposit accounts play a critical role in the lives of most Americans, but these products and the laws governing them are complicated… Consumers need someone on their side to keep banks and credit unions accountable- that is our job at the consumer bureau.”
Currently, Cordray’s bureau is investigating overdraft fees- the regulation of which sparked an increase in checking fees in late 2011. Have you switched to a credit union to minimize or eliminate checking fees?