NEW YORK - "Credit unions are basking in the spotlight again," according to an Associated Press (AP) article titled "Mad at Bank Fees? Credit Unions Get Another Look." The article, published Friday afternoon, quickly made the rounds, appearing on the Web sites of CBS News Business, The New York Times, Atlanta Business Journal, and the Huffington Post, among others.
In the article, AP Personal Finance Writer Candice Choi says that consumers usually give credit unions a second look whenever banks roll out new fees, but the hassle of switching accounts usually keeps disgruntled consumers from making good on their threats to leave. But, this time around, "it seems some customers have finally had it."
The article cites the uptick in traffic to CUNA's consumer awareness site aSmarterChoice.com and reports that some credit unions have seen an influx in account openings.
Credit unions and other smaller institutions are "eager to welcome new customers", Choi points out, and to help those angered consumers find a credit union, she gives an overview of what credit unions are, how they work, and the benefits of joining.
Despite reports to the contrary, banking at a credit union is not inconvenient, the article says. With shared branching and shared ATM networks, consumers can drop in at locations of credit unions or swipe their card at credit union ATMs around the country to do their banking.
The main attraction of credit unions, the article says, is the lower fees and rates. Citing the nonprofit status of credit unions, the article explains that the fees and rates on credit cards, mortgages and other consumer loans in general tend to be lower.
Joining a credit union is easy, too. Each credit union caters to a specific group, Choi explains, but most also let immediate family members of the target group join. "So chances are that you'll be eligible to join at least one."
The article can be found in its entirety here.