SCE FCU Defies Bank Fees; Will Still Offer Consumers Free Checking and Debit Card Use

Oct 04, 2011 | News & Press

SCE FCU members would incur up to a possible $1.5 million dollars in fees if they banked at any other major retail banks in 2012

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Contact: PCGCampbell Kyle Reuter (310) 224-4957

IRWINDALE, Calif. (October 4, 2011) – SCE Federal Credit Union, bucking a trend among retail banks, will continue to provide free checking with free debit card use.

“SCE FCU is keeping millions of dollars in members’ checking accounts, where it belongs,” says CEO Dennis Huber. “SCE FCU is a safe and secure place to bank and does not charge members to use their debit cards.”

Bank of America recently announced that customers will incur a $5 monthly fee for any debit card purchase in a state-by-state roll out. Citibank has released plans to increase monthly checking fees to $15 a month. JP Morgan Chase, Wells Fargo and Sun Trust Banks’ debit card customers in certain states will be assessed a $3 monthly fee for using their debit cards.

These new fees for retail bank customers stem from a June 29 approval from the Federal Reserve Board to lower interchange fees from $0.44 to $0.21. The Durbin Amendment created quite a disruption in the financial services industry, as the current interchange fee may not adequately cover the cost of issuing cards and processing adjustments, and the costs associated with merchant and consumer fraud on the cards.

“Technically, most credit unions across the country (with $10 billion in assets or less) are exempt from the Federal Reserve’s interchange rule,” says Huber.  “However, it remains uncertain whether merchants will be able to accommodate two pricing structures. Even so, SCE FCU is committed to keeping its products and services as fee-free as possible.

“Most consumers are being squeezed by the economy and are frustrated by price fluctuations outside of their control. Now is a time when pennies, nickels and dimes – and in this case, dollars – really do add up.  Consumers, though, need to know they have the option to open an account at SCE FCU, which offers all of the products and services found at large retail banks.”

According to a June 2011 Associated Press-GfK poll, consumers use debit cards more often than credit cards. If assessed a debit card usage fee of $3 to $7, the poll revealed that consumers will find an alternative payments source with cash and checks leading the way.

ABOUT SCE FCU

SCE Federal Credit Union was founded in 1952 and currently has more than 42,000 members, $500 million in assets, several Southern California branch locations, thousands of shared branch locations across the United States and more than 28,000 surcharge-free ATMs available to members. SCE FCU serves all of Southern California, with membership open to individuals and businesses. SCE FCU is a not-for-profit entity committed to improving the financial well-being of the communities it serves, especially those underserved by mainstream financial institutions. With a strong commitment to volunteerism, employees donate hundreds of hours to local community causes each year. Additionally, the creation of the SCE FCU Foundation provides much-needed financial education to the underserved.

SCE FCU Defies Bank Fees; Will Still Offer Consumers Free Checking and Debit Card Use (PDF)

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