If more people transfer their accounts to credit unions it could be a mixed blessing for some credit unions. However, that’s a challenge credit unions would be glad to worry about.
Credit unions may have to find ways to invest the money they would receive from new deposits that could come on or around the so-called Bank Transfer Day on Nov. 5. That could be a challenge because of low interest rates and caps on business loans, according to several industry experts.
“The new deposits push credit unions in a tough position because there is an increase in liquidity with nothing to invest in,’’ said former NCUA Board Member Geoff Bacino.
But former NCUA Chairman Dennis Dollar said since most of the new deposits would be in the form of checking accounts, it’s a net plus for credit unions.
“Those aren’t high-balance accounts and are the most profitable accounts that credit unions have because of the fees they generate,’’ he said. “Also, any increases that credit unions see will take place gradually because those accounts are the hardest to transfer because of changes that have to be made when designating direct deposit and automatic bill pay.”
CUNA Chief Economist Bill Hampel agreed with Dollar that any increase in deposits will come gradually. But Hampel said that the challenges to credit unions won’t come in the form of increased liquidity as much as additional strains on their operations.
“It’s a nice problem to have and that’s where they could see challenges for their staff,’’ he said.
Hampel added that if credit unions have an increase in assets because of new deposits, it doesn’t have to negatively affect their capital ratio.
“You can calculate the ratio either by dividing the current amount of capital by the current asset size or by dividing the current capital level by the average asset size of the last four quarters, whichever is more advantageous,’’ he said.
NAFCU Chief Economist Tun Wai advises credit unions that once they get the new deposits, to redouble their efforts to prevent people from switching financial institutions.
“People move from financial institution to financial institution constantly and you have to makle sure you develop the right relationship with members, and that will persuade them to stay with your cr4edit union,’’ he said.
Want to hear more about Bank Transfer Day? Click on the arrow below to hear Senior Reporter David Morrison interviewed on Madison, Wis., radio station WTDY's "Everything at 5" show.