At least one CU has begun to promote itself as a remaining source of free checking accounts.
The $837 million Unitus Community Credit Union, headquartered in Portland, Ore., has announced that it will continue to offer free checking and free online services even as other financial institutions begin to put fees on some of their accounts and services.
“Free checking and free online bill pay are important benefits to our members and we plan to continue both regardless of other changes in the marketplace,” said Unitus’ CEO Patricia Smith in a prepared statement.
Whether and how to continue with free checking accounts have become questions which many CUs have started to debate as they try to recoup income from debit cards, which may face a significant regulatory downturn.
The CU quoted an article from the AARP Bulletin urging consumers to look to credit unions for free checking.
“Free checking, once the standard, is going the way of the VCR. A recent study found that the number of financial institutions offering it is down 11 percent from a year ago,” the magazine said. “But if your bank starts charging, you have other options,” the Bulletin reported. “Many credit unions, which are non-profit and organized to benefit members rather than shareholders, still offer free checking,” the article continued.