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Bank Transfer Day From The Other Side Of The Counter

Nov. 14, 2011
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The holiday that spurred a media frenzy and motivated thousands of people to finally make the switch to credit unions brought big results for the CUs themselves, which have historically garnered only a small fraction of American accountholders.

While the holiday helped motivate the move to credit unions, it may have been more like a final nudge. As banking fees continue to rise since passage of the Durbin Amendment, there has been increasingly vocal dissatisfaction from accountholders who find themselves being charged exorbitant banking fees just to use their own money.

While there have been plenty of reports of crowded parking lots, long lines, and impassioned account-openers on November 5th, we thought we’d check in with a credit union to see how things looked from their side of the counter and to find out how they see the impacts of BTD playing out over the long-run.

Freedom Credit Union 

We talked with Krista Barry, a marketing coordinator at Philadelphia-based Freedom Credit Union.

What was Freedom Credit Union’s experience on BTD? Did you see a spike in people opening accounts?

There was a 67% increase in new accounts opened on Saturday, November 5th over that day last year. 50% of new member accounts that day were online applications. In a survey done on Bank Transfer Day, 32% of new members said that they joined because of the holiday.

Did Freedom do anything to specifically target new members for BTD?

In the week leading up to Bank Transfer Day, we made a series of social media posts related to switching to a credit union and highlighted reasons to join Freedom.  The posts received very positive feedback from people connected to our pages. Five of Freedom’s branches stayed open 2 extra hours on the 5th, closing at 2 pm.

What do you think BTD did for credit unions? Did the holiday have much of an impact, or can increases in new members be attributed to other factors? 

Bank Transfer Day seemed to motivate many current bank customers to become members of credit unions. However, the current climate of the financial industry also seems to be in favor of credit unions: overall business volume was up 30% for us in October, and November seems to be on the same trend.

Do you see BTD as having potentially long-term impacts on credit unions, or on how people choose to bank?

I believe the awareness built by Bank Transfer Day will only continue to grow, and people will continue to make the choice to become members of credit unions.