Friday, August 31, 2007

Consumer Reports: Credit unions best for credit cards

The revered consumer watchdog group Consumers Union in its October Consumer Reports publication said credit cards issued by credit unions received the best marks overall in a survey of 36,000 cardholders nationwide. According to the report:
Credit unions are run by members, so they have a vested interest in providing credit at very low rates. And they are more focused on keeping their members happy, while banks have to worry more about keeping their investors happy.

And the press is taking note:
> The best and worst credit cards [CNNMoney]
> Banks get low scores in credit card poll [Contra Costa Times]
> Report: Card deals better at credit union [The Oakland Tribune]

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

NY Times reviews credit union payday loan alternatives

When Peggy Truckey of Appleton, Wisconsin had debts totaling $1,300 to several payday lenders in the area last year, she knew she was in trouble--until she found GoodMoney, a program offered a thrift store and a credit union.
“Our goal is to change behavior, to interrupt the cycle of debt,” said Ken Eiden, president of Prospera Credit Union, who is also a director at Goodwill.

The Aug. 28 New York Times has the story.

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Investor 'Fool' loves credit unions

Hey, here's a guy who feels like I feel about my credit union. It's love. Almost passion. John Rosevear, of the investor's trusted source, The Motley Fool, is gleeful about credit unions' better rates and friendlier service:
I've made no secret of this in the past: I love my credit union. Their great rates, low fees, friendly personal service, and flexibility in meeting my needs have made me a customer for life.

Read more on The Motley Fool website.

Sunday, August 26, 2007

Mortgage haven: Credit unions

With recent subprime mortagage news leaving many seeking solid ground, some are pointing to credit unions as a "haven." But don't take my word for it.

In Friday's edition of the economics website, reporter Nat Worden said "Credit Unions a Haven in Mortgage Storm."
For those pondering a new mortgage, a home-equity loan, a car loan or some other form of borrowing at an uncertain time like this, federal credit unions may offer a credible alternative.

And his reasoning...
Unlike other lenders that have now run into trouble with widespread defaults, credit unions hold the majority of the loans they make in their portfolio, rather than sell them off into the secondary market. This structure gives them a greater incentive to attract keep their members satisfied -- and solvent -- in the long term.

Glean more from his wisdom here.

Friday, August 24, 2007

The Situation Toon

Don't let the banker's tears fool you. The Credit Union Regulatory Improvements Act (CURIA, H.R. 1537) will put a smile on the face of 89 million hard working Americans. (CLICK TO ENLARGE)

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Taxing credit unions would make economy worse, says publication

Credit unions provide a vital balance wheel for America's lending economy and can help soften the blow of a credit crunch. Ending their tax exemption is "almost sure to make things worse," said a columnist in the National Review Online Monday.

A senior fellow at the Competitive Enterprise Institute, discussed a Treasury Department report that includes a proposal to tax credit unions $19 billion over the next decade. He said that taxing credit unions would affect the economy. He writes:
Not only would the 90 million or so Americans who belong to credit unions end up paying this tax directly, but the tax would likely ripple through the economy, restricting already tight access to credit, and making just about everything a bit more expensive.

Wow! That would take a bite from my wallet! Read the entire column here.

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Biz Journal: 'Banks chase wealth, credit unions follow mission'

Though bankers claim that credit unions have left their mission "people helping people" behind, the Aug. 13, 2007 edition of the Hartford Business Journal reported that isn't the case. According to data compiled by the Journal credit unions are more likely than banks to open branches in areas where people have middle to moderate income levels. Too bad this little story gem is by subscription only!

Friday, August 10, 2007

A major motion picture: The Story of the Little Guy

This three and a half minute video chronicles the Little Guy's quest for a small business loan. Is he successful? Watch the this epic tale to find out.

Monday, August 6, 2007

Bank breaks $3 ATM fee barrier

As a college student preparing for a night out, I typically would visit the automated teller machine (ATM) and withdrawal $5 from my account. Back then it was free, as financial institutions enticed customers to the world of labor-less banking. Times have changed, indeed.

Bank of America said it is hiking ATM fees to $3 in most U.S. markets. The $1 hike in fees went into effect July 31 for most of the country, and will take effect Aug. 31 in markets in Illinois, New Mexico, New York, Nevada and Massachusetts, reports the San Francisco Business Times.

The fee will not be charged to BoA customers, who do not have to pay to use BoA ATMs. Also, the increase will not be charged at the 6,300 off-site ATM locations such as airports, colleges, convenience stores and malls. At these locations, non-customers will continue to pay a $2 surcharge.

Two years ago, BoA had its last surcharge increase going from $1 and $1.50 to $2 in some markets. The current industry surcharge average is $1.64, according to


Statistics from the Credit Union National Association indicate that the average amount of non-member surcharge on owned or leased ATMs ranged from $1.25 to $1.59, depending on credit union asset size.