Should You Join the Credit Union Boom?


While many large banks have eliminated free checking accounts, they have also instituted fee waivers.

"Something as simple as direct deposit is enough to avoid a monthly checking account fee. Banks are rewarding relationships," McBride said. "Customers that bring more business to the bank are more profitable to the bank. Therefore, that relationship is rewarded in the same way that airlines reward their frequent fliers with priority boarding and first class upgrades."

Patricia Briotta, spokeswoman for the National Association of Federal Credit Unions, said a consumer can find the best credit union for them, such as no-fee checking account or the best car loan.

"That's the attraction of them, because they are customized for customers," she said.

Mike Schenk, economist with Credit Union National Association, said that it pays to shop around for the best financial institution for you.

"I know it's not the most convenient thing to do," Schenk said. "Transferring accounts takes time and effort, but in the long run, there is a payoff."

The Credit Union National Association said savings from credit unions have led to over $6.3 billion in direct benefits that have accrued to the nation's over 91 million credit union members, as opposed to what they would receive at traditional banks, in the 12 months that ended in June. That is the equivalent of $69 per member or $132 per member household.

There are at least three resources to help you find the best credit union for you:

1.'s Credit Union Finder

Chen said Nerd Wallet compiled a list of 413 small credit unions. The site allows you to search by geographic location, credit score and your affiliation with an employer or profession. He said Nerd Wallet has not received any commission from the credit unions in the database.

Nerd Wallet also compiled a list of the best credit unions across the country, many of which offered promotions related to Bank Transfer Day.


Schenk said he recommended, which is affiliated with the Credit Union National Association. If you have additional questions, you can also call the site's representatives at (800) 358-5710.


The National Association of Federal Credit Unions also has a web tool that allows people to search by address, credit union name or company/affiliation. The site had the highest traffic ever on Saturday, Bank Transfer Day. In October visits to the website were more than five times its monthly average. Visitors to the website last month increased by more than 700 percent compared to October 2010.

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