Bye-Bye, Banks: 9 Tips Before You Switch to a Credit Union

Thousands are leaving banks, but you need to know where to put your money.

Byby MATT GUTMAN and ENJOLI FRANCIS
October 23, 2011, 9:47 PM

Oct. 24, 2011 — -- The more than 7,000 credit unions across the country are seeing an explosion in new members since Bank of America announced its monthly $5 debit fee in September.

In Miami, Karen Jackson transferred her money from a Chase account to the Miami-Dade Credit Union. She said the continuous adding on of fees had disgusted her.

"We couldn't take it anymore," she said. Recent numbers show there are thousands like her.

The Navy Federal Credit Union, the world's largest credit union with $46 billion in assets and 3.8 million members, says it welcomed thousands of new customers last week -- a threefold spike in new checking accounts since this time last year.

"In our experience, this is new," Karen Tyson, the National Association of Federal Credit Unions' senior vice president for marketing and communications, told ABC News. "This is a different phenomenon. There seems to be quite a bit of distrust, quite a bit of apprehension, quite a bit of frustration among the average Americans out there with the larger institutions and the Wall Street institutions."

Scott Arney, the chief executive officer of the Chicago Patrolmen's Federal Credit Union, said deposits had been pouring in.

"In October, we're on pace to go about 40 percent above that in new checking account and debit card activity," Arney said.

But before you go out and transfer your money to a credit union, here are nine tips from the Credit Union National Association:

The National Association of Federal Credit Unions' Tyson said the main myth she hoped to dispel was that it was hard to move from banks to credit unions.

"It's not hard to change," she said. "It's a quick process. You can do it online. Find one that works for you. ... It's a piece of cake."

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