Thursday, October 25, 2007

Today Show: Credit Unions Best for Small Savers

Financial editor Jean Chatzky, on the Oct. 22 Today Show and in her column, says credit unions are the best place to go if a consumer is a small saver or a car-loan borrower.

Chatzky, who is an editor-at-large for Money magazine, analyzes the "best banks for your buck." She says:
Credit unions are like not-for-profit banks. They have an even smaller, more individual presence than small banks. Some have a system of branches, some do not. But they're known for charging lower fees and offering higher rates of interest than banks. The catch is that you have to be a member to get a good deal.

Read--and watch--the segment online. Click here.

Friday, October 19, 2007

NPR: Credit Unions Seek Payday Loan Consumers

National Public Radio's (NPR) "Morning Edition" reported Oct. 15 on credit unions' efforts to help consumers avoid payday loans with high rates.

NPR host Steve Inskeep noted that "a growing number of credit unions hopes to steer consumers who are strapped for cash away from payday loans by offering less expensive alternatives."

Reporter Cheryl Corley interviewed a woman who had used payday loans, and Ed Jacob, CEO of the North Side Community Federal Credit Union in Chicago.

Jacob explained the credit union began offering payday loan alternatives after noticing members were paying interest fees of more than 600% on payday loans. Its short-term loan is for $500, at 16.5%, and is to be repaid in six months.

Click here to read the NPR story online.

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Philly Credit Unions Help Folks Turnaround Subprime Mistakes

Two Philadelphia credit unions are offering services to help consumers who have made mistakes by signing onto subprime home loans, reports the Oct. 12 Philadelphia Business Journal.

Freedom Credit Union, a $338 million asset, Warminster, Pa.-based credit union, and Philadelphia Federal Credit Union, a $547 million asset, Philadelphia-based institution are offering a lifeline to those embroiled in subprime woes with loan refinancing options.

See how credit unions helped member Pam Watson in the story, Low home loan default rates at credit unions reflect homespun lending habits.

Friday, October 12, 2007

In Payday Battle: Banks AWOL, Credit Unions Get Praise

Credit unions deserve recognition for stepping up to help low-income households obtain small, low-interest loans, the Virginian-Pilot reported in its Oct. 8 edition.

The Pilot cited two credit unions, Langley Federal Credit Union in Hampton and Newport News Shipbuilding Employees Credit Union, who have offered small loans with lower interest rates to members.

Many low-income Virginians have been left behind by banks, so payday lenders "have slithered in to fill the void," said the article. Some lenders charge more than 300% interest on the loans, burying borrowers further into debt.

Thursday, October 11, 2007

A Slurpy with My Surcharge-Free

Paging through yesterday's USA Today, this ad caught my attention. The question is simple, and the answer is even better--credit union surcharge-free ATMs.

The ad encourages consumers to join credit unions and use one of CO-OP's 25,000 surcharge-free ATMs, instead of using bank ATMs that carry high fees.

The ad also points out that a new deal will offer consumers a deal at many 7-Eleven stores.

Now I can get my Slurpy and surcharge-free spending cash all in one stop!

But where, oh, where can I find these elusive little gems? Fear not, this handy website shows you.

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Credit union's motivation revealed during CEO interview

Credit unions exist to serve the financial needs of their members--there is no investor profit motive, no CEO stock options, and no sellout for big investor gains. It's all about member demands for products and services.

This point is reinforced in an Oct. 7 newspaper interview with a long-time Midwestern credit union CEO. The Dubuque, Iowa Telegraph Herald Executive Editor Brian Cooper asks Dupaco Credit Union CEO Bob Hoefer about the credit union's successful strategy:
TH: What's the next big thing coming?

BH: Brian, I have to tell you, whatever the members want is what we're going to try to do. I have no magic wand.

Share draft checking accounts. ATM cards. Home loans. Small business loans. Trust services. All guided by the members' desire.

It's a long interview, which you can read in its entirety here.

Tuesday, October 9, 2007

Survey: Customers fear bank fees more than crooks

Just in time for Halloween, an upcoming survey by the Gartner consulting group finds "many consumers are more worried about banks raiding their accounts than criminals," writes MSNBC blogger Bob Sullivan yesterday.

The research finds "consumers are five times more likely to switch banks because of hidden fees than security concerns." Sullivan quotes Garner researcher Avivah Litan:
"...Banks make the biggest deal about security and how they protect your accounts and spend a lot of money advertising that ... but what people really care about is fees.

Also surprising: the customer churn these fees generate. "When you have one in five customers leaving a bank because of excessive fees, that's a huge customer service cost. They must be making a lot of money from excessive fees."

Among Sullivan's "Red Tape Tips": Investigate a credit union near you.

Read Sullivan's complete MSNBC "The Red Tape Chronicles" blog post here.

Monday, October 8, 2007

Smart money is in credit unions, says consumer writer

Hey Smarty...Kelli B. Grant in the lastest edition of SmartMoney says "credit unions offer a smart banking option." In her "Deal of the Day," she say:
Credit unions aren't just for a niche group of steel workers or teachers anymore. In fact, these nonprofit, member-run financial institutions are more accessible than ever before — and they can be a much better place to stash your cash than traditional banks.

Click here for the complete SmartMoney story.

Monday, October 1, 2007

Newsweek: Credit unions 'the most promising solution'

Jane Bryant Quinn's column about payday lending appears in today's Newsweek.

While credit unions aren't mentioned till the end of the piece, she speaks of credit unions in very favorable terms, calling them "the most promising solution," and highlighting alternative payday programs at a handful of credit unions.