A new survey of Long Island checking account holders found 60% of them would most likely leave their financial institution if it charged hidden fees and did not offer free checking.
The online survey, commissioned by the $4.8 billion Bethpage Federal Credit Union in Bethpage, N.Y., polled 874 checking account holders (members and non-members) who live in Nassau and Suffolk counties on Long Island, which is Bethpage FCU’s primary market. The scientific survey’s margin of error was +/- 3.25% at a 95% confidence level.
When asked what attributes are important for choosing a bank or credit union, 68% of respondents said free checking and no hidden requirements are important, Bethpage FCU said. Among consumers who are actively looking to switch to a different financial institution, 37% of survey respondents said they would leave their current financial institution for lower fees and better rates, the credit union said.
These findings come on the heels of the recently released Bankrate 2012 Checking Survey that found checking account fees are at an all-time high. The Bankrate survey found the average monthly maintenance fee for a non-interest checking account is at a record high of $5.48, a 25% jump from last year.
Bethpage FCU’s survey also found when choosing a financial institution, consumers look for these top three traits: honesty (73%), trustworthy (72%), and ethical (71%).
The credit union said it conducted the survey to determine how last year's Bank Transfer Day movement has impacted the banking market longer term.
"Last year's Bank Transfer Day movement certainly helped fuel consumers' demands to expect more from their financial institution,” said Kirk Kordeleski, president/ CEO at Bethpage.
“As we see bank fees continue to soar to unprecedented highs, those strong demands will continue and consumers will not only express their discontent, but continue to make changes in where they do their banking, Bank Transfer Day helped Bethpage experience record growth as consumers leveraged their voices and chose credit unions for the valuable options they offer," Kordeleski said.