NCUA Legal Opinion Not An Attack On Service Fees For Checking Accounts

Editor's Note: this was written in response to "NCUA Requires Opt-In For Free Checking Fees," CU Journal Daily Briefing, Feb. 28.

Let's get the facts straight without embellishing. The opinion did not mention anything about "opt-in." It also did NOT take issue with the program itself, only the fact that you cannot add a monthly fee and still call the account "free."

The need for this opinion is the result of an over-zealous "E-competitor" who has been telling credit unions that if they call their fee a "service fee" that it somehow skirts the TISA requirements regarding the use of the term "free checking."

The truth is, if done correctly, a credit union CAN implement a strong security and identity theft program, and at the same time implement a monthly service charge that is "within its contractual rights and meeting all relevant requirements of applicable law." However, as our company has always advised, you can no longer call the account "Free." That's just common sense.

By selectively extracting certain phrases from the opinion you have twisted the meaning of this guidance from the NCUA. Will you please print this to set the record straight?

Sally King, NXG Strategies, LLC
Brentwood, Tenn.