Sept. 27, 2012 – Reports this week of rising checking account fees and minimum balance requirements at banks present yet more opportunities for credit unions to draw new members, NAFCU’s Fred Becker said Wednesday.
BankRate.com reported that monthly service fees on non-interest checking accounts set a new record of $5.48, up 25 percent from last year. The average balance requirement to avoid that fee was $723, up 23 percent from the record set last year.
For interest checking, the average monthly service fee has risen to $14.75, up 4 percent from last year; the minimum balance to avoid it was $6,117, up 9 percent.
“As we have said before, we will be playing bank fee Whack-a-Mole for quite a while,” said Becker, NAFCU’s president and CEO. “As banks continue to experiment with fees, credit unions will have the opportunity to gain market share by emphasizing the better deal they offer consumers – a safe place to save, a reasonable return on your funds and limited or no fees for checking.”
Indeed, a BankRate.com analyst, in this week’s report, said consumers may still find free checking at another bank or a credit union. A CNN report noted that option as well. (“Go look at credit unions,” said Christine Romans.)
The BankRate.com figures are based on survey data collected from 10 banks and thrifts in each of 25 large U.S. markets.