National Bank Transfer Day – Bank Transfer Day started as a national social-media response to new and proposed fees by large banks trying to create new revenue sources.But as the event approaches Saturday, the initiative has local credit unions targeting banks in an unusually public way.
Take for example Allegacy Federal Credit Union’s “refuse the fees” marketing pitching — including full-page newspaper ads — touting how easy it is to switch from a large bank. Or the billboards displaying Members Credit Union’s “Break Up With Your Bank” campaign.
Most credit unions stress their not-for-profit status compared with large banks that they say squeeze customers for extra revenue to please their shareholders.
According to the Credit Union National Association, more than 80 percent of 5,000 credit unions nationwide say they have gained members in response primarily to Bank of America Corp.’s previous plan to add a $5 monthly transaction fee for using a debit card. The lobbying group also estimated about $4.5 billion in customer deposits have been switched to credit unions in the past five weeks.
Negative consumer reaction to the monthly debit-card fee persuaded Bank of America, Wells Fargo & Co., SunTrust Banks Inc. and other large banks to drop the initiative.
Some analysts questioned whether the retreat on monthly debit-card fees would take some of the wind out of Bank Transfer Day.
But Carla Kimel, public-relations directors for Members, said that the potential fee was not the only thing “fueling the fire for consumers to switch checking accounts. Our ‘Break up with your bank’ campaign highlights other fees that are charged by banks that are either lower or do not exist at Members.”
Jack Braswell Jr., Members’ chief executive and president, said the credit union estimated an 83 percent increase in new checking accounts during October.Allegacy said it gained 1,089 memberships through Oct. 28 compared with 552 in October 2010.