Informal Poll: Rewards To Stay

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DES MOINES, Iowa-A quick poll by TMG indicates that credit unions are not dumping rewards or free checking, but are weighing those options.

"No one wants to pull the trigger and is keeping their powder dry to see if they can use the current regulatory environment as marketing advantage, as banks raise fees and eliminate rewards," observed Jeff Russell.

The senior advisor for TMG came to that conclusion after speaking with 75 CU leaders at a recent TMG client conference in Sonoma, Calif. "I asked for a show of hands as to how many in the room had debit rewards, and a third did. I asked how many people were planning to stop rewards, and no one raised their hand."

Russell then asked how many in the audience would evaluate rewards over the next 12 months, and almost everyone said they would. "I also asked how many had fees on checking and only two said yes. I then asked how many were planning to implement checking fees as a result of the Durbin rules and no one raised their hand."

He also inquired how many would consider adding checking fees in the next year. Most attendees said they would evaluate free checking. "Credit unions are in a 'wait-and-see' mode for adding checking fees and adjusting or cutting debit rewards," Russell concluded. "I think they plan to hold onto their current pricing as long as they have an advantage in the marketplace to take bank business."

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