BETHPAGE, N.Y.-Saying it had conducted a study designed to determine how 2011's Bank Transfer Day movement and credit union support has impacted the banking market longer term, Bethpage FCU has released findings that indicate consumers are increasingly stressing the importance of free checking with no hidden fees as a top attribute when choosing where to bank.

In addition, 60% of those surveyed in Bethpage FCU's Long Island, N.Y. market say they would most likely leave their current financial institution if they charged hidden fees and did not offer free checking.

"Last year's Bank Transfer Day movement certainly helped fuel consumers' demands to expect more from their financial institution," said BFCU CEO Kirk Kordelski. "As we see bank fees continue to soar to unprecedented highs, those strong demands will continue and consumers will not only express their discontent, but continue to make changes in where they do their banking."

Bethpage reported that since Bank Transfer Day on Nov. 5, 2011, it has opened more than 27,500 checking accounts, a 49% increase over the 11 prior months. It also added 35,800 new members in the 11 months since Bank Transfer Day, an increase of 68% compared to the previous 11 months.


Other Findings:

* When asked what attributes are important when choosing a bank or CU, 68% cited providing free checking with no hidden requirements.

* When asked to identify what traits they look for when choosing where to bank, 73% cited honesty, 72% said trustworthiness, and 71% said ethical.

* Among people actively looking to switch to a different FI, 37% would leave their current financial institution for better rates and lower fees. The survey, administered in August, 2012 by CoreBrand, a Manhattan-based brand consultancy, polled 874 Nassau and Suffolk checking account holder residents.

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