Thursday, January 06, 2011 10:19:00 AM
Credit unions have been handed "a tremendous opportunity" in light of big banks dropping free checking, Merck Employees Federal Credit Union CEO and NJCUL board member Ray Del Nero told the Credit Union Times.
In an article titled "Banks' Free Checking Exit a CU Boon, Says Del Nero" (Jan. 6), the CEO discusses the recent reports that Wells Fargo and Chase plan to phase out free checking for New Jersey consumers, stating that this "is indeed good news" for credit unions.
The article points out that New Jersey credit unions expressed in a recent NJCUL poll their commitment to continuing free checking for members; 68% said they will offer free checking in 2011, with 15% saying it would be with restrictions. Three percent of the sampling said they would not be offering it and 3% said they have never offered it.
Del Nero also pointed out that Merck EFCU members currently "get all of their checking services for free, there are no minimums and no criteria."
It is unclear whether banks' dropping of free checking is linked to loss of overdraft income due to the Fed's interchange rules. However, Del Nero says the credit union industry is poised to challenge the Fed rules, citing CUNA's aggressive Call to Action.
As for future Merck EFCU policies on checking, Del Nero said much depends on "what is done with debit cards and the Fed and we all would have to program for that."
The article is available in its entirety here.