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WASHINGTON – When it comes to where credit unions are going to derive non-interest income, non-sufficient funds and courtesy pay programs rank high on the list. More than 50% of non-interest income is directly tied to the core share draft account, a recent Callahan & Associates, Inc. survey discovered. Debit card interchange income, ATM charges and check sales are also popular outlets, said Tom Geggel, Callahan industry analyst. “With the net interest margin dropping to 2.98% as of the first quarter for credit unions reporting to the First Look program, the search for new avenues of fee income is gaining momentum,” Geggel said. First Look tracks data from a large segment of the industry’s credit unions. Over the last five years, share draft penetration has increased from 39.5% to 42.9%, Geggel pointed out. Non-interest income totaled $7.3 billion for the credit union industry in 2004 and Callahan’s latest survey shows share draft accounts and credit card fees account for two-thirds of the income. “As credit unions are developing strategies to become their members’ primary financial institution, securing the checking account is a big win,” Geggel said.

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