Credit unions bask in backlash

  • Article by: JENNIFER BJORHUS , Star Tribune
  • Updated: October 30, 2011 - 8:08 AM

Anger at big banks has meant new business for credit unions. Some are using aggressive tactics, such as an edgy TV campaign from St. Paul-based Affinity Plus.

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swmnguyOct. 29, 1110:11 PM

I dumped the banks 10 years ago. I've been at TopLine for about 8 years now. The only thing I could ask is that TopLine host Health Savings Accounts. Other than that, TopLine's service has been vastly superior to anything I ever encountered at a bank.

I've had 2 auto loans, 2 mortgages, 2 HELOC's, personal accounts, business accounts, and of course a debit card. I've used the debit card in ATMs in probably 25 states, China, Thailand, Japan, Portugal, Italy, Canada and the Netherlands. I've never paid a single fee. I have paid a fee in some small towns where the ATM's aren't part of a network. But that wasn't TopLine's fee, and Topline is a member of most of the global ATM networks.

Seriously, I would never go back to a bank. Not just for moral and ethical reasons, either. The service at banks was poor when I was a kid. It has only gotten worse over the past few decades. It positively stinks today. And the way they gouge their customers to recoup their massive losses from irresponsible shenanigans is simply unacceptable.

The banks claim they can't make money borrowing money from the Federal Reserve at 0.25% and lending it out at rates from 3.5% - 10% on various loans, and 7.9% - 24.99% on credit cards? And using deposited funds for a variety of interest-earning investments? Really? I sure could make money that way. So why should we have any faith in them at all? Move your money to a credit union. You'll never look back.

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wunderdudeOct. 29, 1110:11 PM

A former teachers credit union is starting to behave like a commercial bank with some of its gotcha fees and creative penalties. Can anyone recommend a good member-focused credit union?

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larrymickOct. 29, 1110:17 PM

Well, it does help when you don't have to pay federal income taxes. Maybe they should pay their "fair" share.

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rockanatreeOct. 29, 1110:54 PM

Switched over a year ago to RBCU. Best move we ever made! TCF can go broke for all I care.

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themotherOct. 30, 11 8:03 AM

My bank charged me a $6 fee for depositing cash over $5000 on a business account. They claimed it was for the paperwork they have to fill out for large deposits. Wish I could charge an extra fee for anything that doesn't require to sit on my a$$ all day long. Can you believe it? You have to pay them to put money into the bank! Needless to say, I closed my account the next day...

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jimmyb007Oct. 30, 11 8:12 AM

The real issue is that the big banks don't need more deposits....they have too many already. There is not enough demand out there for the big banks to profitably lend to credit worthy customers, so they are actually fine with getting rid of small balance customers that they don't really make money on. I guess it is just capitalism at work. Best of luck at your new bank.

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eastsider45Oct. 30, 11 8:22 AM

I've banked at a Credit Union for 20+ years and will never go back to a bank. I've never had an overdraft fee, the worst I got was a friendly call from one of the girls telling me "dummy, your account is messed up!" And then she helped me straighten it out. If I want to buy a new car, I call up the loan lady and she puts the money in my account on the spot, I fill the paperwork out later. Then I can negotiate with the dealer like I'm paying cash. What a great feeling. And then there's "skip a pay" for the holidays so one month they allow you to skip a payment on up to two loans for a small fee. Helps with Christmas!

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elmore1Oct. 30, 11 8:37 AM

After 35 years with NW/Wells Fargo I liquidated all of my accounts 10 years ago over their silly rules and fees (they wanted to charge me for deposit tickets...can you beleive they wanted to charge me for depositing money!). Carried big balances and charged a lot on my card so I was profitable for them. They never made an effort to retain my business. Switched to a credit union and have been very happy ever since.

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sarazs1Oct. 30, 11 8:43 AM

wunderdude; Affinity Plus is fantastic. They really take care of their customers, and have so many wonderful options as far as accounts, loans, and investments. You won't be disappointed.

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jeffportOct. 30, 11 8:46 AM

Read the notices that are sent and you will never ever be surprised about any fee's you garner. Balance your checkbook, read the notices then make an informed decision. Nuff said.

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