Are Customers of Bailout Banks Fleeing to Credit Unions?

ICUDay_2008In case you missed it, this week is International Credit Union Week. Not that anyone would notice, as the public remains shell-shocked over the news that Goldman Sachs (GS) and JPMorgan (JPM) intend to shower their employees with about $25 billion in bonuses this year.

Sometimes, you just reach your last nerve. After my checking account maintenance fee jumped 66% recently, I joined over 1 million Americans who voted with their feet this year. I joined a local credit union.

In real dollar terms, the fee increase was only $8. But it was getting personal. My homeowners insurance just shot up $200, adding to my sense that I was at increased risk for a financial gang-bang.

I was not alone.

According to a recent report by Callahan and Associates, credit unions increased their membership by 1.9% to 91.0M members in 2Q 2009.

The report also states that credit unions are on pace for a record year of lending — at a time when credit availability remains a key issue across the nation and when the FDIC recently reported four consecutive quarters of declines in loans outstanding at banks.

With a market share of less than 7% when compared with banking industry assets, credit unions have much to gain.

But so do credit union members. In addition to great rates, my credit union offers a prescription drug program, a vision plan, gym memberships, and random drawings to win up to $1500 in cash each quarter.

Thanks for the memories, JPMorgan.

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