By Casey Bond of Go Banking Rates
NEW YORK (MainStreet) — This time last year, Americans were taking to the streets in protest of rising bank fees and switching their money from big banks to credit unions en masse. According to a 2011 survey performed by the National Association of Federal Credit Unions, 54% of credit unions reported an increase in deposits after Bank Transfer Day in 2011. Making the switch, though, may have benefited credit unions more than it did their new members.
Ever since the Occupy Wall Street and Bank Transfer Day movements, depositors are advised again and again that switching to a credit union will solve their big-bank dilemma of numerous, costly fees. Unfortunately, many who make the switch assume mistakenly that just because they're banking with a credit union, they're not going to be charged fees. The truth is that credit union members are just as vulnerable to fees as bank customers -- a fact that is rarely shared or acknowledged.
Credit union members surprised by fees
Harris Schanhaut had been a happy member of Teacher's Federal Credit Union in New York for more than 20 years. So when he planned to relocate his business to North Carolina and needed to open a bank account, Schanhaut turned to a local credit union without question.
That institution was First Flight Federal Credit Union. According to Schanhaut, "This was for business-related expenses that my company would reimburse me for via direct deposit, and I would pay the company card directly via the credit union's online service. I was shocked to discover they charged transaction fees for online banking."