Thursday, November 29, 2007

Research: Credit Unions in Top 10 for Customer Experience

Credit unions were the only non-retailer brand in the top 10 spots in a new Forrester Research's 2007 Customer Experience Survey.

"A credit union" clocked in as the No. 5 brand, sharing the limelight with Costco, Borders and Barnes & Noble. According to Forrester:
Credit unions and Borders come in first for ease of use. Led by credit unions and Borders, 33 firms received a rating of “excellent” for their ease of use.

The Cambridge, Mass.-based Forrester asked nearly 5,000 consumers about their interactions with 112 firms in nine industries. Consumers weighed in on the usefulness, usability and enjoyability of those experiences, said Forrester.

Retailers dominated the survey's top 10 spots, while the bottom 10 included communications companies, healthcare providers--and banks.

Click here for Forrester's recap, published Nov. 28.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Hoopty Made Possible By Your Credit Union

We all know banks and credit unions make both used and new car loans. But hey, some of us feel quite differently about our trusty transporters. Now, Carolina Postal Credit Union in Charlotte, N.C., is singing my siren song. They offer:

Great loans for ugly cars.

As part of the campaign, the credit union is giving away bumper stickers which proudly proclaim, "i love my hoopty."

They've even started a blog, where members can submit photos of their joyous jalopies. Are we supposed to have this much fun at a financial institution?

Click here for ilovemyhoopty.

Monday, November 26, 2007

Credit Unions Have a Different Atmosphere

Credit unions, by offering lower service fees and better interest rates than banks, have carved out a niche for themselves in the financial services industry, according to a Nov. 26 article in a Delaware Business Journal.

While some credit unions may not have as expansive branch networks as banks, credit unions have an advantage in offering smaller, more consumer friendly options, the article said.

"It's a different atmosphere," said Patrick Mahaney, president/CEO of the Delaware Credit Union League, referring to the facts that unlike banks, credit unions are non-profits, have no shareholders, and have boards of directors composed of unpaid volunteers from the credit unions' membership.

Monday, November 12, 2007

The Best Little Deal in Banking: Credit Unions

The secret about credit unions' super value is quickly leaking.

The Nov. 12 edition of Money Magazine says credit unions are "the best little deal in banking."

Credit unions offer sweet deals on credit cards and auto loans, the best CD rates in the business and heaps of personalized services. And yes, you too can join one.

I guess the story is not a bad thing: The less secrets that exist in this world, the more consumers benefit.

The online version also is available on Click here to read the story.

Friday, November 9, 2007

Credit Unions Lead, Banks Need Coaxing in Payday Alternatives

Public Radio's Marketplace reports credit unions are trying to help ween people from the perils of payday loans, while reluctant banks need additional coaxing. Read:
Faith Community United is one of a small but growing number of credit unions trying to give payday lenders some competition. Now the FDIC wants more banks to jump in to the race. The FDIC's Bob Mooney says that's why the federal agency released guidelines earlier this summer for the type of payday loan they'd like banks to offer: Small, one-month loans capped at a 36 percent annual percentage rate.

Meanwhile, the bank regulator, the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. (FDIC) is encouraging banks that it supervises to offer affordable small dollar loans to these customers.
To entice banks, the FDIC is offering extra credit at exam time. Every year banks have to show they are trying to meet the federal Community Reinvestment Act by doing business in the rich and poor parts of their neighborhoods. Banks that offer small dollar loans that follow the guidelines will get "very favorable" consideration in their annual reviews.

I guess we can't blame the banks for not looking out for the little guy. Unlike credit unions, it's not a natural bank tendency for the for-profit fellows.

Another stark contrast between banks and credit unions.

Read (and listen) to the complete segment on the Marketplace website.

Monday, November 5, 2007

Credit Unions Offer Helping Hand on Capitol Hill

Opening House office building doors, shielding pedestrians from the rain, and distributing mints to Capitol Hill staffers and members of Congress were all activities undertaken during the Credit Union National Association's "Credit Union Helper Day on Capitol Hill" Oct. 24.

The tasks performed by CUNA staff members and others were aimed at illustrating to those on Capitol Hill how credit unions help people--especially their members, reports the trade association's News Now.

According to CUNA spokesman Patrick Keefe:
Generally, people appreciated our efforts, and a good number asked us for more information about why and what we were doing. When we explained our connection to credit unions, we heard more than once 'I love my credit union.'

However, the CUNA representative said, not everyone was cheered by the credit union efforts. He noted:
An apparent group of bankers, entering through a door held by a credit union helper, shouted 'credit unions are evil – they should be taxed.'

Keefe said the credit union representative just smiled and told them to have a good day.

Sunday, November 4, 2007

Small Biz Cites Credit Union for Its Success

Cwick Crown, a small family-owned crown moulding business whose products will be launched in 56 New Jersey Home Depots this week, has cited its success in part to its relationship with USA Federal Credit Union in San Diego, according to a story in the Nov. 1 The Daily Transcript.

The report says Cwick Crown interviewed several other financial institutions at its start-up prior to partnering with USA Federal Credit Union, but saw that many of the banks would charge high fees. Says Ben Rasmussen, chief operating officer of Cwick Crown:

We didn't get the personal treatment we have at USA FCU.
Click here for the complete story online.