Bank Transfer Day haul: 40,000 members, $80M in deposits

by R.J. Lehmann on November 9, 2011

Though final numbers likely won’t be available until the National Credit Union Administration releases call report data for the fourth quarter,  an initial survey by the Credit Union National Association projects that its members brought in 40,000 new members and $80 million in savings account funds on Nov. 5, the target date for an online movement that encouraged consumers to transfer their accounts from major banks to nonprofit credit unions.

According to CUNA, the so-called “Bank Transfer Day” capped a month in which credit unions added roughly 650,000 new members and $4.5 billion in new savings. The jump in membership, which followed announcements (largely, since withdrawn) by some major banks that they would begin charging fees to debit card users, topped the total number of new members added in 2010. Credit unions saw an average of 20,000 new members from Sept. 29 through Nov. 4 before doubling that pace on Nov. 5.

In addition, CUNA’s survey of 1,100 credit unions found that 80% of large credit unions added new members on Nov. 5, with many featuring special or extended Saturday hours to accommodate the flow.  CUNA also reported that credit unions it surveyed reported making $90 million in new loans on Nov. 5 alone.

In Missouri, the local Missouri Credit Union Association reported its members have, over the past six weeks, added 7,100 new members and seen $49 million in new deposits.

However, credit unions in some other areas described the event as uneventful. In San Antonio, where roughly half of the population already are credit union members, the marketing director of United SA Federal Credit Union told the Express-Times that Saturday was a “pretty slow” day and that they “did not have any new accounts as a result of somebody coming in and saying, ‘I’m transferring my account due to Bank Transfer Day.’”

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  • Greg Stanski

    This credit union vs. big banks thing seems to me to be a non-issue. u00a0Young, less-educated and low-income Americans are the worst affected by the side effects of the Fedu2019s rule to limit debit card interchange fees to about $0.24 per transaction, down from an average of $0.44 , we learn from a new Federal Reserve study. u00a0Joanna Stavins, an economist at the Boston Fed, tells us that:nn”Because banks stand to lose revenues when the interchange fee rule becomes effective, they may raise fees u2013 either on consumer bank accounts more broadly, or specifically on debit cards u2013 to recover their losses.”nnHow are they going to do that? u00a0Stavins:nn”Any price changes may take the form of reduced rewards on debit cards or increased fees, either in a form of fixed term fees or as variable per-transaction fees. Fixed one-time fees are more likely to affect the adoption of a payment method, while per-transaction fees are more likely to affect the use of payment methods.”nnWe know from other studies that young, low-income and less educated consumers are the ones relying most heavily on debit cards, partly because they have no access to credit. u00a0So at the end the issuers will manage to at worse recoup their losses, the merchants will be net winners as well and those consumers who can least afford it will be net losers from the interchange reform. u00a0

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