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Credit Unions Beat Big Banks in Customer Happiness

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The number of people who moved their money into credit unions in October may not have been as strong as the original estimates suggested, but a new study reveals that the folks who do belong to credit unions are happier with their banking experience than those who deal with the big banks.

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After several major banks increased their customer fees this year, the Bank Transfer Day movement called for consumers to send a message by taking their money out of big banks and placing it in credit unions. Initially, the Credit Union National Association estimated that credit unions across the U.S. gained 650,000 new members between Sept. 29 and Nov. 5 (the official Bank Transfer Day). CUNA now says the number of consumers who stuck it to the big banks is actually 441,000. However, the number of new members for that period alone equals 75% of new membership for the entire year of 2010.

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So how’s that whole credit union thing working for people? Pretty good, according to the American Consumer Satisfaction Index, which tracks customer satisfaction with banks and credit unions, among other things. This year, credit union member satisfaction scored an 87 out of 100 (up 8.7% from last year), citing those smaller institutions’ ability to provide more personalized service. Meanwhile, the average big bank customer satisfaction dipped one point from last year to a tepid 75.

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