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callahan and associates A recent report from Moebs $ervices generated this unseemly headline: “One Big Perk of Using a Credit Card Just Disappeared.” That was a Time.com/Money article about that research outfit’s finding that the median overdraft fee for banks was $30 and that for credit unions it’s now “a very bank-like $29.”

Now, overdraft fees are considered “punitive fees,” although the service certainly serves a purpose for the consumer and credit union alike. And members not only can opt out of the projection – some credit unions offer checking accounts for the unbanked and underbanked that don’t include that option at all, as a way to help those members join the mainstream while boosting credit scores and budgeting skills.

Nevertheless, that headline spoke to an undercurrent of concern we hear in the industry about credit unions becoming too much like banks, and consequently, too profitable to deserve something like, say, a tax exemption. But have credit unions as a movement strayed that far from their mission?

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