Archive for the ‘Credit Unions’ Category

Why Big Banks Are Losing to Credit Unions

Frustrated by high fees, disappearing rewards and a generally non-consumer friendly reputation, many Americans are considering breaking up with their bank.   And oftentimes, the refugee consumer is taking their money to a local credit union.  It’s an exodus of money from Wall Street to Main Street that appears to be gaining momentum.  To talk about this trend, we’re welcoming Sonya McDonald, Vice President and Chief of Staff from Randolph-Brooks Federal Credit Union, to The Consumer Team.   Our interview will air Saturday, September 20th at 5PM Central on 1080 KRLD Radio.

Credit Unions:  Consumers Like Lower Fees, Non-Profit Structure

Credit Unions: Consumers Like Lower Fees, Non-Profit Structure

An product of 19th Century England and Germany, the credit union was invented by communities as a solution to either non-existent or onerous loan terms from the local bankers.    The credit union was, in its simplest form, neighbors helping neighbors.   Money was gathered into a central repository and loaned to its members so they could build their homes, businesses and dreams.   The credit unions were non-profit and existed to serve its members.  What a concept.

In our discussion of current day credit unions with Ms. McDonald, we’ll discuss the reasons behind the trend of consumers moving to credit unions from big banks.   We’ll review the advantages of working with a credit union versus a bank (it goes well beyond just a lack of fees or better rewards) as well as how to select a credit union.

The trend of consumers, especially the middle class, breaking up with their bank is part of a larger discussion regarding big banks and why they are bad deal for consumers.  If you’d like to get a deeper understanding of big banking in America, I recommend several books:

The Creature From Jekyll Island – G. Edward Griffin:   Although the title suggests a science fiction novel, this book is hardly fiction.  It’s about the formation of The Federal Reserve in 1911 on Jekyll Island, off the coast of Georgia.   The book, which reads like a murder-mystery masterpiece, is sad and very troubling.  After reading “Creature”, you’ll understand clearly the cartel that is Big Banking in America.  You’ll understand their power and how it affects you as a citizen, taxpayer and a consumer.

The Big Short – Michael Lewis:   Lewis is the author of several best-sellers including Money Ball, Liar’s Poker and Flash Boys.  The Big Short is a very effective chronicle of the events that caused the economic crisis of 2007-2009.   It vividly describes the mortgage meltdown along with the role that big banks played in the near destruction of our economy.

The Divide: American Injustice in the Age of the Wealth Gap – Matt Taibbi:   Known for his writing in Rolling Stone Magazine, Matt Taibbi is able to connect the dots between income inequality in America and its impact on justice and our legal system.    To be clear, this isn’t just another book about income redistribution, it’s an accurate accounting of how both the middle and lower classes of America are living in a much different America from the mega-uber-wealthy 1%.    This is a book that will disgust you.

Pete Thomson

The Consumer Team

Editor’s Note:   Pete Thomson has worked in broadcasting since 1972.   Thomson is President/CEO of McQ Media, an advertising and media firm based in Dallas, TX.  McQ Media works in the areas of consumer and business advocacy and produces The Consumer Team radio program. 


Consumer Team: Banks Pitching Bad Deal to Students

(DALLAS-FT. WORTH, TEXAS)   Since the financial collapse of 2008, more consumers are aware of the nefarious activities of big banks.   On Saturday, August 16, 2014, The Consumer Team will explore a new area of bad banking behavior:  high-fee debit cards being targeted to college students.   Suzanne Martindale, a staff attorney from Consumers Union, will join Consumer Team host Pete Thomson for the first of several broadcasts that will be devoted to questionable banking practices.   The Consumer Team is broadcast Saturdays from 5-7PM (Central) on 1080 KRLD Radio, Dallas, Texas.

The Consumer Team - Banks Behaving Badly

The Consumer Team – Banks Behaving Badly

Consumer Team host Pete Thomson, commented about the banking segment.  He said, “This is the latest chapter of big banks taking advantage of consumers.   They’re using aggressive marketing tactics to pitch a bad deal to college students.  In addition, in many cases colleges are participating in the promotion with the banks and sometimes actually share in the revenue made at the expense of the student.”

The Consumer Team segment will focus on the marketing programs being used and the fee structure of debit cards.   Thomson added, “These deals are very insidious.  The marketing programs make it appear that the bank and the college are working together to bring a valuable service to the students.   In reality, the terms and conditions are often so bad that they become an unnecessary drain on a student’s financial aid.”

In addition to identifying the problem, Thomson promises that listeners will learn about alternatives to big banks.   Thomson added, “The good news is that informed consumers don’t need to become a victim to these bad deals.  We’ll talk about effective, low-cost alternatives including credit unions, which we feel are a real friend to the consumer.”

Thomson applauded Consumers Union for their work in exposing the issue with student debit cards.   He said, “We believe that Consumers Union’s work in consumer policy and action is invaluable to all Americans.  Without their vigilance, the consumer marketplace would be very different.    Relative to the powerful big banks, that are ‘too big to fail’ and ‘too big to jail’,  Consumers Union’s courageous research is essential to keeping these people accountable.”

For more information on The Consumer Team, click here.   To listen live, Saturday from 5-7PM Central, click here.   The Consumer Team is produced by McQ Media, Dallas, Texas.


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