With thousands of consumers pledging to move their money to a credit union by November 5th as part of “Bank Transfer Day,” EECU – A Community Credit Union of Jackson, Michigan reports it is ready to accept new members now.
“Every day is a good day to join a credit union,” said Steve Cobb, Chief Executive Officer of EECU. Now is the time to become one of more than 92 million Americans nationwide who are already enjoying the advantages of credit union membership.”
Andrea McKay of Jackson is just one new EECU member who has closed her bank accounts and joined a credit union. “I banked with Bank of America for 12 years. Over the years, their fees just kept increasing. The last straw was when I noticed a $25 fee being withdrawn from my account every month that could not be satisfactorily explained by the bank. They really were not cooperative and I was fed up with fees. I’d heard really nice things about EECU from friends and family and I knew I wanted to join that credit union, so I moved all of my accounts to a place I can trust,” said McKay.
The timing of Bank Transfer Day could not have worked out better for EECU, because the credit union debuted their Certified Smart Choice “No Ifs, Ands or Buts FREE Checking with no-fee Debit Card” campaign October 1st. The promotion, which runs through year-end, encourages current EECU members who don’t have a Checking Account at the credit union – as well as those in the community who aren’t yet members – to make the switch and earn $25 cash. Certified Smart Choice Checking is free to open and maintain, and features the Extra Awards bonus points program for Debit Card purchases, that can be redeemed for free gift cards and travel rewards. Additionally, EECU Certified Smart Choice Checking provides free Online, Mobile and Text Banking, as well as free Bill Pay and e-Statements. Plus, by becoming a new member and/or opening a new Checking Account as a current member, it automatically qualifies them in EECU’s 75th Anniversary promotion, where they are giving away $50,000 in weekly, monthly and year-end cash prizes throughout 2011.
All EECU branches will have extended hours on November 5th with service oriented employees on-site to sign up new members, answer questions and open accounts. All branch lobbies will be open from 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m., with hourly VISA Gift Card drawings ranging from $25 to $100. Plus, when EECU members refer friends and family, both earn another $25 when the referred member becomes qualified and opens a new Savings and Checking Account with no-fee Debit Card. And when members refer a business, both get $100 when the business is approved for and opens a new Business Savings and Checking Account with Debit Card. EECU encourages members and those considering joining the credit union to visit www.eecu.us or ask a branch representative for all promotional details.
Bank Transfer Day was started by Kristen Christian, a Los Angeles art gallery owner unhappy with her bank. So far, more than 60,000 people have RSVP’d to attend Bank Transfer Day on Facebook alone.
Cobb said EECU has already witnessed an influx of new members “because of our new campaign and what has happened in the market stemming from Bank Transfer Day.” EECU reports nearly 100 Savings Accounts have been opened since September 29, representing a 35% increase over the same time period of one year ago.
EECU also offers their members the same convenient services as banks, including a nation-wide credit union network of more than 28,000 surcharge free ATMs, and participates in a “shared branch” network where physical branch locations are shared to provide members with more convenience and accessibility. EECU and other credit unions are able to offer these types of free services without fees because they are not for profit. Cobb said consumers that do make the switch will find that on just about any given day, on average, credit unions offer higher return on most savings, lower rates on most loans, and lower (or no) fees than other financial institutions charge. (See the national daily rate comparison at http://creditunion.coop/ratedex.php).
In fact, the Credit Union National Association (CUNA) estimates that, over the last year (12 months ending June ’11), the average credit union member saved $69 (and $132 per household) just by doing business at a credit union. And that’s on average; the more a consumer does with a credit union, the more the consumer saves.
LuAnn Bennett of Jackson also decided to move her accounts to EECU to avoid high bank fees and start saving. "When my bank made the decision to charge for services that I expect to have free of charge, I decided to search for a better deal. I discovered a financial institution that I could trust in. I found EECU - A Community Credit Union. EECU has many services, friendly faces, and no frivolous service fees. Simply said, they do not charge me money to use my own money. EECU deserves my business," said Bennett.
“Credit unions are unique among financial institutions,” Cobb said. “Banks and other financial institutions exist to maximize profits to their shareholders; credit unions exist solely to maximize service to their members.” Cobb added that credit unions are not-for-profit financial cooperatives, organized solely to meet the needs of their members, who govern the institution by electing from within the membership officers and directors (who establish the policies under which the credit union operates). The elected officials may also employ professional management to run the credit union day-by-day. Voting is one person, one vote, meaning every member has an equal voice regardless of the amount of savings or loans they have with the credit union.
To join a credit union, a person must meet eligibility requirements (called a “field of membership.”) Typical fields of membership include community, employee groups, associations, religious or fraternal affiliations and residential areas. “Not everybody can join any credit union -- but there is a credit union for everybody,” Cobb said. “Make your best decision based on your needs and that of your family,” Cobb added. “If you like saving money, and conducting your financial business at a place that focuses on your needs, join a credit union.”