Other Trends To Watch

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Among other trends that CUNA's Vicki Joyal said CUs should watch:

* Small business services are a strong opportunity, especially since 72% of the population age 18 to 29 would prefer to start their own businesses rather than work for someone else.

* Debit cards are rapidly emerging as the payment instrument of choice.

* Credit unions can no longer rely on their free checking accounts to attract members. "Banks are slowly eroding the competitive advantage that credit unions traditionally had with free checking," said Joyal. CUNA's new Credit Union Fees Survey indicates 57% of banks now offer free checking. "At 71%, credit unions still have the edge, but...while imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, credit unions must strive to set the bar at even higher levels." Credit unions still beat banks in fees charged when a member bounces a check. Credit unions average $22.23 per bounced item, compared with banks' $27.28.

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