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 Rogers Park Golf Course and the Hillborough River from above. - Julie Branaman
Rogers Park Golf Course and the Hillborough River from above. - Julie Branaman | Show Photo

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Tampa Bay Credit Unions Attract New Customers

With all of the uproar over proposed banking fees, many people are exploring their options to move their money from big banks to credit unions. GTE Federal Credit Union (FCU), a member-owned credit union serving Tampa Bay, reports an increase in new member applications. Over the past month, the credit union has experienced a 31 percent increase in applications.

“Consumers are looking at banking in a different way now,” says Brian Best, senior VP of member solutions and chief lending officer at GTE FCU. “It’s important for individuals to know that credit unions were designed to help and benefit the member, which is the owner. Banks are designed to benefit shareholders. ”

Due to bank customer anger over fees and the movement of Occupy Wall Street, protesters declared Nov. 5 “Bank Transfer Day” and encourage those who hold accounts at banks to move their money to credit unions. GTE FCU sweetened the deal by offering $5 a month to new members for a 12-month period.

“Credit Unions have been around since the great depression and were formed to help people,” says Best. “With the recent economy, the thing that provides more momentum towards credit unions is that they have always been around to help people during tough times. ”

Best goes on to say that credit unions do not have to charge fees to customers like banks do because of the way credit unions are set up.

We are designed as a not-for-profit, therefore we don’t have to meet significant plateaus of earnings and profits,” he says. “This means we don’t have to charge the fees that banks have to in order to meet a certain profit.”

Writer: Kimberly Patterson
Source: Brian Best, GTE Federal Credit Union
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