A new survey by Bankrate finds that of the top 50 credit unions based on assets, 38 still offer free checking accounts with no strings attached. Even among those credit unions where customers have to pay for checking, most offer ways to avoid fees by meeting certain conditions, such as maintaining a minimum balance or signing up for electronic statements. “We don’t feel a member should pay to have access to their money,” says Jill Lingo, marketing director at Ohio-based General Electric Credit Union, which has $1.2 billion in assets and 10 branches in the region. Lingo says there are no plans to change the institution’s policy of offering free-checking to account members. The steadfast availability of free checking at more than three-quarters of the credit unions surveyed by Bankrate is in contrast to the corresponding pullback by banks in the recent times. The growing prevalence of fees and conditions at traditional banks comes as new regulations make checking accounts less profitable.
Read more: Bankrate.com