Thursday, March 31, 2011 11:37:00 AM
A letter to the editor written by New Jersey Credit Union League President/CEO Paul Gentile defending credit unions' safety and soundness as well as consumers' confidence in banking with them was published in Thursday's Bergen Record.
Titled "Credit Unions are Still Sound", Gentile's letter is in response to an article titled "Credit Union Cutbacks" published on March 6.
Gentile points out that, according to recent research and polls, "credit unions were ranked first among financial service institutions, and 13th among all companies", and 51% of people named credit unions as the institution they believed their savings are the safest in. These findings directly contradict the March 6th article's statement that "customer satisfaction slipped last year" at credit unions.
Also contrary to statements made in the article are credit unions' low fees. "The average credit union overdraft fee is $20, compared to $39 at banks. For credit card annual fees, it's $25 at credit unions; banks charge an average $59. The annual cost to maintain a credit union account that has less than $1,500 is $80.49 compared to $218.17 at banks," he explains.
Other proof that U.S. credit unions are holding strong, says Gentile, is their lending, which has remained strong and steady throughout the recession.
"New Jersey's 208 credit unions also are lending, particularly for small businesses, for which they are true lenders. Their average small-business loan is about $123,000 - loans that banks don't want to make," he states.
Gentile's letter can be found at http://www.northjersey.com/news/opinions/118970834_The_Record__Letters__March_31__2011.html.