If I have a good grasp on my readers, I think I can say with some certainty that majority of you fall into two categories: 1. You use a local credit union as your primary financial institution. Or 2. You use a “Mega Bank” for your banking needs.
I know, very insightful.
Community financial service providers are really trying to leverage the current insanity of the financial system to grow their businesses. What a better time to start advertising campaigns then when your competition is making a fool out of themselves, right? North Coast Credit Union in Bellingham, Washington is advertising using the slogan “Bailouts are for Boats” – very catchy.
You have heard me say it before, I believe all people have the same underlying desire. To have personal service from a professional who is more of a teacher and less of a sales person.
This desire didn’t come from a new found knowledge of phrases like credit default swap, collateralized debt obligation or subprime mortgage. The underlying urge to return to community was there well before the economy took a tumble, the tumble was just the catalyst to start changing.
A lot of people are drawn to the “Mega Bank” because of a perception that it is just more convenient. “They have 50,000 ATM’s across the country, they have online banking on my phone, they let me print a picture of my pet iguana on my debit card and if that wasn’t enough, last time I was in their branch they offered me some rolling luggage for filling out a credit card application.”
I have not had a need to physically go to a branch or an ATM in probably 3 years until last month. All I need is my debit card and online banking! Last month, my wife and I went to our annual Labor Day family reunion in Minneapolis, Kansas. Yes you heard me right, not Minnesota, Kansas – population 1000. In Minneapolis cash is still king and checks are still accepted, we haven’t carried checks since 1995.
We needed cash to pay for everything but like I said earlier, I haven’t been to an ATM in 3 years, so I never have cash. I desperately needed $50 to get through the weekend!
So you are probably saying to yourself, well Andrew, if I had been there I would have just whipped out my Wells Fargo debit card and gone to the local ATM (which is probably 1 of the 50,000 they own). Here’s the catch, there are no ATM’s in Minneapolis and the bank is not open on the weekends – a lot of good that 50,000 ATM network would have done! I was just out of luck, it didn’t matter if I banked with Gallup Federal Credit Union or Wells Fargo, neither could help me.
I get it, change is hard! But I like to think that in this case, change is worth it.
I really want to stimulate some discussion here (literally, please post your thoughts in the comments section below). Given all that has taken place over the last 2 years, what makes you believe in a local credit union? If you still bank with a “Mega Bank” why haven’t you switched? What would make it easier to switch?