Results from a survey out this week by the $4.2 billion Bethpage Federal Credit Union in New York shows no or low fees were the chief reason new members switched to the CU as a result of Bank Transfer Day.
Moreover, public awareness of CUs and Bethpage, in particular, increased markedly during the second half of the year as the BTD promotion took hold last November, said the CU.
The momentum seems certain to continue, forecast the CU based on recent new check fees for high net worth customers as debuted by Bank of America and other megabanks in the last few weeks, said Kirk Kordeleski, president/CEO of the Long Island CU.
“What this survey is telling us is that with their increased frustration for the banking industry, consumers are educating themselves about credit unions and walking away from their banks, choosing to bank with credit unions instead,” said Kordeleski.
The survey taken of 450 new members who joined in the second half of 2011 found that 62% of respondents cited no or low fees as primary reason for joining as compared to 44% for the comparable period a year ago.
Of those who joined in the second half, 65% identified Bethpage as their primary financial institution compared to 45% for the same period the previous year.
“Additionally, 41% indicated that better rates and lower fees were the main difference between Bethpage Federal Credit Union and a bank, compared to 32% in 2010,” said the CU.
Also, more new members or 83% in the second half of 2011 opened new CU checking accounts as compared to 66% the previous year.
In 2011, Bethpage said it opened a record number of new checking accounts, 23,000, a 29% increase compared to 2010. In addition, new membership grew by almost 27,000 or 19% more than 2010, for a total year-end membership of 196,000. Bethpage is Long Island’s largest CU.