A lot has been written and quoted about the numbers of bank customers who moved their accounts to credit unions. Was it 650,000 or 440,000 or less than 250,000 as claimed by the bankers? I don't know and don't really care. But as Frank J. Diekmann recently commented, we should wish to eat this kind of crow again.
We measure member and checking account growth very carefully and we had a significant spike in both. A typical month for us is to see 150 net new members per month and 100 net new checking accounts. However, in September, October and November we gained about 600 members and over 1,000 checking accounts. I attribute all of this 'extra' growth to the public reaction to the big banks and their announced fees for debit card usage. Any way the bankers want to slice it, they lost market share and credit unions and community banks gained.
The public was well informed about the debit card issues and I think prepared to accept increases in fees for usage of their cards. However, when they were told that they would see a flat $3, $4, or $5 fee for just using their cards two or three times they revolted and came our way. If the big banks had simply added a fee of 15 or 20 cents per transaction, I think most would have accepted it as justified. My thanks to the big shots who don't understand how regular folks think. For many this was the straw that broke the camel's back.
Marshall Boutwell, President/CEO
Gwinnett FCU, Lawrenceville, Ga.