Fee less, earn more

Overdraft and other checking account charges account for nearly half of credit unions’ fee income, according to the CUNA Fees Report. Credit unions are a better deal than banks: The average credit union courtesy-pay fee is $27.24 vs. $33.04 for banks.

For credit unions looking to differentiate themselves from their competitors through the elimination of fees, industry experts offer this advice:

Eliminate fees that have no value. “Providing convenient, short-term financial assistance has value,” says Richard Miller, executive vice president at John M. Floyd & Associates, a financial services consulting firm and CUNA Strategic Services alliance provider. “If you’re not offering that help, someone else will. The result is the member will pay a fee to an outside provider instead of the credit union.”

Educate members about your overdraft programs and the opt-in process required by Regulation E. “Make sure your members understand the pros and cons of opting in under Regulation E, including the benefit it provides when they need to make a purchase and are short of funds in their checking account,” Miller says. “If you haven’t, you’re likely missing out on potential income from members who want to use the service.”


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