CULookup.com traffic soars

Oct. 14, 2011 – Traffic to CULookup.com, NAFCU’s credit union locator site, continues to see growth in traffic, with a 350 percent increase in the two weeks since Bank of America and other banking giants announced plans to begin assessing debit-card and checking fees.

Patty Briotta, NAFCU’s public relations manager, discussed the trend in an interview Thursday with San Francisco’s KGO Radio Newstalk team. Credit unions have always been “a good choice” for consumers, she said. “And I think as the big banks have announced their fees, credit unions look even better.”

Asked about credit union membership, Briotta said it’s growing, and it has been growing throughout the financial crisis.

She said there is good reason too. Credit unions are not-for-profit and member-owned. So “you’re the boss,” she said. No credit union member has ever lost a penny of savings insured by NCUA, which offers the same level of protection bank depositors get from the FDIC, Briotta noted.

She also pointed to the convenience credit unions offer through nationwide ATM networks and products that usually feature lower loan rates and higher savings rates than other institutions.

The bank-fee backlash, meanwhile, has also spawned a new Facebook project, Bank Transfer Day, which encourages visitors to move their money out of their banks and into a credit union by Nov. 5.

This project, while associated often with the Occupy Wall Street protests, is reportedly a separate phenomenon all its own, though organizers of both movements are mutually supportive.

The Bank Transfer Day project was also noted in CU Times. As for Nov. 5, “Why wait?” Briotta is quoted saying. “We encourage people to explore their options and vote with their money every day and join a credit union.”

Consumers can find out about credit unions in their area, membership requirements and product offerings via CULookup.com, maintained by NAFCU Services Corporation.