The creeping economic recovery has pushed credit unions to think more creatively to generate new revenues and efficiencies. A story we posted referring to  Kern Schools Federal Credit Union last year drew an angry comment from a member recently. According to the commenter, he or she was charged $5 for each letter the credit union tried to send regarding an account problem. This grabbed our editors’ attention and, although we couldn’t approve the comment because it contained profanity, when we asked Kern Schools, we discovered that the credit union started a $5 monthly returned mail fee to prod members into updating their contact information with the credit union. Once the credit union receives up-to-date information, the $5 is returned.

This is a really innovative idea. Credit unions can be member friendly and still use tactics like this to get their point across. Friendly works both ways: Members need to take some responsibility to maintain their personal information. It represents a security issue to them and the credit union and has compliance implications as well. Either they fix it and get their five bucks back, or they move on, which means they probably weren’t the most committed members anyway. 

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