The credit union industry has been the one’s laughing all the way to the bank as the industry’s commercial banking competition flounders in one mishap, one bad news story, and one more upset consumer after another. The tables were reversed in Washington,DC after the National Credit Union Association (NCUA) made a blunder in the recent success of new customers in November’s Bank Transfer Day. The banking industry did gloat in some rejoicing as the credit union threat to commercial banks and the industry’s monopoly. Why this revision states the reality of the credit union myth of being the moral and selfless banking bank alternative may just be a half truth in reality.
The reality is the credit union employees and representatives are the primary vocal supporters, and the media has given a blank check of blessing the credit unions as good guys and the alternative to banks. Member experience is more credible to the reality of credit unions being the good guys in banking.
“They are plain rude, and the unhappiest group is a compliment. No one smiles, and saying thank you after any transaction is forced from their lips. They want me to move all my accounts, if their employees are miserable. What does that negativity mean for me when I transfer my entire relationship. Membership equals misery, because everyone is miserable in that credit union. My primary bank do act somewhat happy at times…
The feedback was provided by a trusted source and federal government employee in DC about the federal credit union in the same building as department who asked to speak anonymously due to position in government. That is one federal credit union and one viewpoint.
In riding the metro rail system, a flyer stating “Absolutely No Debit Card Fees on purchases” was posted. The poster was from the Justice Federal Credit Union, and the first thought was advertisement does state a fact about a service at the aforementioned organization. The consumer does not know about the restriction on becoming a member. As a result, I did place a call to the Justice Federal Credit Union where I spoke with Susan, and I had three questions for Susan. Her responses in quotes follow each question.
Question 1: Do I need to to be an employee of the Justice Department to become a member of the credit union?
“There are many ways to become a member and you can find the entire list on our website…select in the top left section, Join Us, on the homepage.
Question 2: Debit card fees on purchases are not an issue…What about cash withdrawals?
“Cash withdrawals may subject to a fee outside the credit union network, on the back of the card, a symbol will be on the ATM as on the back of the card to know that it is no charge ATM transaction.
Question 3: What happens if I qualify for membership?
The abbreviated response, ” It is your choice where to open an account, the branch network or the call center, opening account by telephone is available until 8:00pm, Monday-Friday. The process is 20 minutes, and you will need your driver’s license, a debit or credit card to fund the account. The minimum membership requirement is a $5 deposit into a savings account.
The representative was pleasant in voice and presentation, but the answers were not coming from an industry trying to the credit union business model is the best model and future direction of financial services in America. No questions were asked about my needs or my affiliations to pre-qualify my inquiry on membership. The response to ATM cash locations with no charge to the customer was confusing for an expert banker. I understood what she was saying,, but matching a symbol on the ATM and back of a debit card is not the best answer for a prospective customer.
The two experiences are a small sample of the number of credit unions in the DC marketplace, and professional association in the credit union industry and association has exposed me to a number of credit unions. A credit union leader or associate would be passionate in actions not just beautiful sounding words. A credit union CEO provides the perfect example of a good guy in the credit union industry, for he knows the success of the credit union is irrelevant without an economically healthy community or membership to support the credit union. Please click here to access the Spring 2010 article ” Credit Union CEO provides leadership and hope in the middle of economic storm” , and this does prove that good guys do exist in the credit union. However, the good guys in the credit union are similar to banks, for they exist few and far in the totality of a leader in relation to the community and consumer.
In conclusion, the credit union does not address the most important challenge in the financial services industry, and the aforementioned examples do show a pattern of consumer complacency as shown by the banks. The credit unions are zero different in making the consumer the center of the business model, and the center of the model is not the consumer or member. Credit union membership is not a stock certificate; a member is what the commercial banks call customer with a two-word change in customer becomes member and savings become shares(stocks) at the credit union. Words are great for comfort, but actions create quality to replace the temporary patch of comfort.
Continue reading on Examiner.com Credit Union CEO provides leadership and hope in the middle of economic storm – Washington DC consumer and banking | Examiner.com http://www.examiner.com/consumer-and-banking-in-washington-dc/credit-union-ceo-provides-leadership-and-hope-the-middle-of-economic-storm#ixzz1ftKZrF7t
- Credit unions lure fewer new members than first reported (money.cnn.com)
- Customer Satisfaction with Banks and Credit Unions Increases in 2011: Prime Performance 2011 Bank and Credit Union Satisfaction Survey (prweb.com)
- Credit Unions revise downward results from Bank Transfer Day (donny-wise.com)
- Exodus of bank customers into credit unions likely to slow (seattletimes.nwsource.com)
- The Silver Lining in the Bank Transfer Day Story (continuumfi.wordpress.com)