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96 million Americans bank with credit unions

Posted by Rona Fischman November 3, 2011 02:04 PM

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When I with Rui Domingos from CPCU to get up to speed on credit unions, I had a personal agenda, too. I have not had access to the credit unions that my clients used. Some were from their work, and some from their college. So, when I met with Rui, I was curious how extensive the use of credit unions was. It seemed like a tiny part of American banking from where I sat.

Boy, was I wrong! There are about 300 million people in the United States. 96 million of them belong to credit unions.

My banking history is not so unusual. I got my first ATM card in 1983. It was a wonder to behold. I had an account in New York that I could access from graduate school in Maryland.

When I graduated, I move to the Boston area. I set up an account at the BayBank in 1984. I stayed at that branch from 1984 to 2004. In that time BayBank merged with Bank of Boston in 1996 and became BankBoston. BankBoston became FleetBoston in 1999. In 2004, FleetBoston morphed into Bank of America. I left the bank and moved around the corner to Wainwright. This year, Wainwright became Eastern. Sound familiar?

Bank consolidation has left only a few big players standing. With the gobbled-up Wainwright, I am wondering when Eastern will look tasty enough to become RBS or something.

I find these kinds of changes disheartening. My mortgage loans get sold around, too. But I am not so concerned about who owns my note, because they will find me if I donít pay. But, I donít like shifting ground when it comes to the institution that holds my savings and administers my checking and bill pay accounts.

So, when I found out that CPCU (and other credit unions) are open to the public, I had a personal interest. This was already brewing in my head when I started to read that Occupy Wall Street was interested in seeing people choose to walk away from big banks in favor of credit unions. There were several calls to action
Native Born Citizen
CNBC
The Patch

Are you ready to leave your bank? Do you think I should?

This blog is not written or edited by Boston.com or the Boston Globe.
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Scott Van Voorhis is a freelance writer who specializes in real estate and business issues.

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