Beyond Bank Transfer Day: CU Growth Expected to Continue (Misc News: November 8, 2011)
Nov. 5, also known as “Bank Transfer Day,” has come and gone but the story of people switching to credit unions appears to be here to stay. Even before last Saturday’s event that called for people to protest big banks and their fees by move their money to credit unions, CUNA estimated 650,000 people nationwide, and nearly 28,000 of them right here in Michigan, had already done so.
Some Michigan credit unions saw big crowds and full parking lots on Saturday. At Michigan Schools and Government CU, five people ready to be new credit union members were waiting at a branch Saturday morning before the doors even opened, according to COO Lisa Burroughs. Burroughs says 72 people made the switch that day, and the credit union plans to keep offering its current $25 incentive for new members that open up checking accounts. Dean Trudeau, CEO of Public Service CU, called the Bank Transfer Day turnout “amazing,” with 94 new accounts opened, including some at a mobile branch on the streets of Detroit. Cornerstone Community Financial CU reports that 33 people have already used its “Switch Kit” in the first week of November, compared to 33 in all of October.
So now that Bank Transfer Day has come and gone, where do credit unions go from here? According to MCUL & Affiliates CEO David Adams, this was never about one day.
“The move to credit unions began before Nov. 5th and will continue after it,” Adams said. “When 650,000 people make a decision about where to put their money, it’s clear we’re not talking about a ‘fad’ or a ‘social experiment.’ This is a movement with staying power, as more and more people act on the frustrations with banks that have been building over time.”
The media buzz has not slowed down in the days since Bank Transfer Day, with stories citing the MCUL appearing in Fox Business News, The Grand Rapids Press, and more planned for later this week in the Lansing State Journal and The Flint Journal.
In an interview on CNN, CUNA President/CEO Bill Cheney made it clear that the recent wave of new credit union members isn’t just about customers being angry with one bank over one fee and that he fully expects the trend to continue.
Cheney also hit on the fact that many credit unions don’t have the advertising budgets of big banks to spend touting their own success stories, adding that Bank Transfer Day and the media hype has helped increase the public profile of institutions that are far more focused on helping their members than spending the advertising dollars seen at firms like Bank of America.
Both Cheney and Adams encouraged credit unions to seize the momentum that has been building to continue to push the message about credit unions over the coming months.