Friday, November 04, 2011

Credit unions are the way to go

This Saturday, tomorrow, is "Bank Transfer Day," as it is named on Facebook.  Customers of corporate banks are moving their money to credit unions rather than accede to outrageous nickel-and-dime fees, like that recently proposed by Bank of America.

Imagine!  A $5 monthly fee to access your own money!

This from the Worcester Telegram & Gazette:
For many months, Sean J. McLoughlin considered leaving Bank of America and switching to a bank that didn't charge him fees just for having checking accounts.

When Bank of America said in September it would charge customers $5 a month for using debit cards, his decision to leave the big bank became easier.

“I said ‘Forget it, I'm done,' ” he said.   
You can read the whole story here.

There are many reasons why a credit union is a superior option to a corporate bank.  As the graphic at the top of this post points out, credit unions are non-profit.  They do not answer to share-holders, but exist to serve their members.  That's us.  That is we.  That is the people with the checking and saving accounts, not champagne-sipping hucksters sitting on a corporate board.

Fees and loan interest rates at credit unions are lower than those imposed by corporate banks, while interest on savings accounts is higher.

But, most importantly, with credit unions, the money stays local.  Any money deposited in a credit union account is loaned out to local businesses and individuals, to the people in the community.  It isn't absorbed into a corporate fund, managed and administered by fabulously rich banking executives who have no connection to or knowledge of the people who performed the labor that earned the money.

So, what advantages do corporate banks offer?  There is only one that comes to mind.  Convenience.  Corporate banks are everywhere, making it easy to go to a branch to deposit and withdraw funds.  But in this day of debit cards and automatic deposits, how much of an advantage is that?  Is it really worth being nickle-and-dime'd every month with minimum deposit fees, transfer fees, ATM fees?

Not in my mind.

Bank of America has nixed its plan to impose the $5 ATM card fee due to a vehemently negative public reception.  Quite a reversal, given that, at first, they tried to pitch it as a necessary response to the "over-regulation" imposed on banks by the (meager and inadequate) Dodd-Frank bill passed in the 111th Congress.  Wells Fargo and Citibank, which were both considering such a fee, have also decided against it.

To some extent, I credit the Occupy Wall Street movement for this minor victory over corporate power.  The movement has made people aware of just how badly we are being fleeced.  And it's reminding us that we have power.  If the movement didn't exist, I'm not sure that people wouldn't have just shrugged their shoulders and accepted Bank of America's dictate

I've been a member of First Tech Credit Union for years.  I urge everyone to continue this emigration from corporate banks to credit unions.  The plutocrats need to be convinced of the precariousness of their position.

Stick it to the man!  Join a credit union!


Paul Wetzel said...

For loans you can go straight to the people who want to lend you money via p2p lending sites such as and get very good rates.

Ridwan said...

I absolutely agree with you Dade.  I have been a member of OnPoint Community Credit Union from the time it was Portland Teachers Credit Union.

More than a decade and a half and it is still the best place I have ever put my money.

Here is South Africa the banks are a total rip off.  They charge you to put money in your account and to take it out.

You read that right.

Peace brother,