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ARLINGTON, Va. – Credit unions have relied on minimum balances and monthly fees to control share draft account expenses over the last couple years while earnings have been tight. NAFCU’s July Flash Report survey discovered that 39% of respondents used minimum balances on share draft accounts to help control expense, while another 35% indicated they charge monthly fees. Less popular methods of balancing expenses included overdraft protection (10%), not paying dividends (8%) and other (8%), which basically includes foreign ATM and debit interchange fees. The bulk of those surveyed (80%) said they use a “chart of expense accounts” to monitor expenses. To gauge their expense control, 54% said they use an expense over assets ratio. Another 40% said they employ their expense over net income ratio. Six percent responded “other,” which includes watching the change in their budget. Office operations have been the primary target of expense controls, 55% of Flash respondents said. Other places where credit unions have taken aim include compensation and benefits (24%), travel/conferences (9%), all expenses (7%), loan servicing (3%), and education/training (2%). Nearly all of those surveyed (94%) said their credit union’s board reviews the credit union’s expenses every month while the rest said the board monitored expenses quarterly. Twenty-nine percent said they had established a credit union service organization to reduce the costs of products and services. “It appears that credit unions are doing a good job of controlling their expenses during the recent period of margin compression,” NAFCU’s Flash Report read. “Further they have done so while still competitively providing their members with the financial products and services they desire.” [email protected]

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