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Occupy The Credit Unions!

Before you jump to conclusions and assume that headline has anything to do with the current “Occupy” protests, hang on a second and see what I’m talking about.

I’m actually suggesting that you “occupy” your local credit union with your money! In other words, if you are doing your banking through a traditional bank, I think it’s a better idea to move all your banking business to a credit union.

I suppose there are still some small, local banks around that may actually be pretty good, but in this case I’m thinking more about the huge banks with names that are recognized just about everywhere in the nation. You know the ones I’m talking about. CitiBank. Bank of America. Wells Fargo. Chase.

Some of these giant banks have recently announced ridiculous new fees for things like using a debit card. In my experience, banks are well-known for imposing fees on customers. Granted, it’s been a long time since I did business with a traditional bank, but when I did I can recall paying fees for writing checks and other seemingly pointless fees paid on a monthly basis just for keeping the account open.

With the introduction of ATM machines back during the 1980’s (if memory serves me correctly), you would think that the banks would have cut expenses significantly by reducing staff and closing branches. With ATM machines in such widespread use these days, it is not hard to reach the conclusion that the banks require fewer tellers and branches to service customers. We all know that machines never take vacations, get sick or need benefits like human employees do. One would think that translates into big savings for banks.

Debit cards also reduce the number of people coming into banks these days, which you would think would further benefit them, but still their greed seems to know no boundaries and now some of them want to impose fees on customers for using their debit cards, which are already saving money for the banks to begin with!

I recognize the rights of big banks or any other business to run their operations the way they want and charge whatever they see fit. That’s the way free enterprise works and I’m not advocating any draconian regulations to control how people run their business, and that brings me to my next point.

Free enterprise also means that consumers can vote with their feet. There are numerous credit unions that would be happy to bring new customers on board. As someone who has been a credit union customer for more than twenty years, I can tell you I am quite satisfied with my experience and would recommend it with no hesitation.

I pay virtually no fees as a result of doing my banking with a credit union. The only fees I can think of are the ones imposed for writing a check the bounces or overdrawing an account. I’m sure there are others, but my point is that I pay no fees as long as I keep my account in order. I also don’t have to worry about minimum balances or any of that nonsense. I can take my checking account down to a penny and as long as I don’t overdraw, I don’t have to deal with any fees whatsoever.

If you’ve been doing your banking at one of the big banks, or even a smaller bank that imposes excessive fees, you might want to seriously consider switching to a local credit union. I suspect it will save you money as well as sparing you the frustration of dealing with a bank that treats people like numbers despite what their slick television commercials claim.

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