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Angered by Fees, Bank Customers Looking to Credit Unions

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Bank of America’s plan for a new $5 debit card fee may be bad news for cardholders, but good news for credit unions, says Credit Unions Online. Since BofA’s announcement, several credit unions have seen an uptick in new accounts—one branch of the Arizona State Credit Union reported a 50% increase, writes Gina Ragusa. BofA’s recent decision isn’t the only one that has raised customer ire. Wells Fargo is also implementing a debit card fee and Citibank is imposing new checking account fees.

[Related Article: Many Consumers Outraged by Bank of America’s Big New Debit Fee]

Hoping to take advantage of this discontent, credit unions are stepping up marketing efforts, says the Baltimore Sun. The paper quotes Norma Garcia, manager of the financial services program for Consumers Union, who says that credit union interest is “incentivizing people to do what they ought to do for every product—shop around to get the best deal.” Nevertheless, customers should be armed with “the right questions” before making any decisions to switch to a new institution, Garcia tells the Sun.

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The possibility for direct consumer action hasn’t escaped Facebook, where organizers are spreading the word about a “Bank Transfer Day,” slated for Nov. 5. According to a public event listing on the site, big bank customers are encouraged to open an account with a credit union, transfer funds there by Nov. 5, and follow procedures to close the former account. “If the 99% removes our funds from the major banking institutions to non-profit credit unions on or by this date, we will send a clear message to the 1% (the nation’s wealthiest one percent) that conscious consumers won’t support companies with unethical business practices,” the page reads. As of Tuesday afternoon, more than 22,000 had RSVP’d.

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