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CREDIT UNIONS OFFER FEWER, LOWER FEES

 MADISON, Wis., June 9 /PRNewswire/ -- Fed up with high fees for financial services? Check out a credit union.
 That's the advice of the Consumer Federation of America and the U.S. Public Interest Research Group, who recently completed a study of the fees banks charge consumers.
 Credit unions usually charge fewer and lower fees than banks for most consumer financial services, says Ralph Swoboda, president of the Credit Union National Association & Affiliates.
 For example, nearly 60 percent of credit unions that offer share draft (checking) accounts, offer an account that is free, regardless of the balance, according to a fall 1992 survey conducted by CUNA's Market Research Department. Among those that charge a monthly fee on accounts with no minimum balance requirement, the credit union fee averages $1.62, compared to $6.94 for banks, the survey found.
 Consumers are also likely to find much better deals on credit cards at credit unions, Swoboda says. Nearly all credit unions that offer credit cards offer grace period cards, and some 60 percent of those don't charge an annual fee for those cards. Among those that do, the fee averages $11.88, versus $16.29 for banks.
 "Despite the hoopla surrounding some banks lowering rates for preferred customers, the average bank credit card annual percentage rate continues to remain more than four percentage points higher than a credit union issued card," Swoboda says -- about 18.3 percent at banks vs. 13.6 percent at credit unions in April, the most recent period for which comparable data are available.
 A recent Associated Press report notes that credit unions have influenced credit card pricing by offering lower rates, prompting consumers to drop more expensive cards from other providers. "We're pleased that all consumers can benefit by credit unions serving as a reasonably priced, not-for-profit alternative to banks," Swoboda says.
 He encourages consumers to contact CUNA for help in finding a credit union to join by calling 1-800-358-5710. Callers who dial the 800 number will receive the telephone number of the credit union league in their state, which will help them locate a credit union they may be eligible to join.
 Employers and other organizations interested in providing credit union services for their employees or member can also use the 800 number for assistance.
 CUNA is the principal national trade association serving the nation's 13,200 credit unions through leagues in the 50 states, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico.
 -0- 6/9/93
 /CONTACT: Jerry Karbon, media relations manager, Credit Union National Association, 608-231-4043/


CO: Credit Union National Association ST: Wisconsin IN: FIN SU:

BM -- CL009 -- 0349 06/09/93 18:03 EST
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Date:Jun 9, 1993
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