A Decade Ago, Many Americans Ditched Banks for Credit Unions
Friday, November 5, 2021
PORTLAND, Ore. -- Ten years ago today, tens of thousands of Americans decided to join credit unions. It's now known as Bank Transfer Day.
On the first Bank Transfer Day in 2011, it is estimated 40,000 people signed up for credit unions. The transfer happened during the Great Recession, when distrust of big financial institutions that had been bailed out by the federal government was high.
Kim Faucher, vice president of marketing for Trailhead Credit Union, said at the time, they had one location and were not open on Saturdays.
"We opened especially on that day and actually had some conversations with people in the Occupy Portland movement," Faucher recounted. "They decided to march to our credit union through downtown, and there was probably about 100 people that marched here with signs and chanting and gathered in our parking lot."
Faucher pointed out other Portland-area credit unions had big days as well, and the movement toward credit unions has continued since then. Her credit union has increased from about 6,000 members to 10,000 over the past decade.
Bank Transfer Day was started by a California art gallery owner who said he was fed up with Bank of America's debit-card fees. Faucher noted credit unions have a different organization when compared with other financial institutions.
"Credit unions have a unique, not-for-profit cooperative structure," Faucher explained. "Which means credit unions and our members don't pay stockholders. Instead, credit unions return their earnings to members."
Today, there are about 120 million credit union members across the nation.
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