People do not care so much if the financial institution where they keep their money is a bank, a credit union, or a savings and loan association. People do not care so much about the distinctions or definitions of what a credit union is as much as whether it is looking out for the members/customers or not. They care about what that institution can do for them, not against them. Management has, in effect, said, “Let them eat cake,” after the members expressed outrage and said this was not what they wanted. Needless fees, used to punish all members, with no way to avoid those fees short of account closing, is a great way to breed hatred for the institution and destroy goodwill. This gives all credit unions a bad name. Arizona Federal has arrogantly turned on its loyal members. This move shows an even more uncaring attitude than Bank of America when it treats its customers like a number, not a customer. Is Arizona Federal competing for most disliked financial institution in America? Credit unions should be trying to define and distinguish themselves by how they are different, but in a positive way – members are owners. The attitude and practice should be, “we, the employees work for you, our member-owners. We will listen to what you want.” Arizona Federal should not arrogantly rip off members with excessive fees, then insultingly claim that the unavoidable $3 monthly fees are mutually beneficial. Of course the member-owners of Arizona FCU are not buying it, because the benefits flow disproportionately to executives, who will have an extra $6 million in their coffers to distribute as they see fit. All the money raised from the so-called membership dues, are really just a way to stick all members with fees, not just the ones who overdraw their accounts!
What happened to looking out for the little guy? Arizona Federal Credit Union’s new fee scheme is an intentional structure meant to run off the little guy. Isn’t looking out for the little guy, the people of modest means, a key reason why Arizona Federal Credit Union, and all USA credit unions, have been given tax-exemptions? If Arizona FCU is indirectly creating artificial barriers against the poorest members of the community, and instead throwing away their cooperative spirit to those most in need, then why do they deserve to pay no corporate income taxes?
The credit union distinction should be, “We care about you, our member-owners, because we work for you, not against you. We will help you improve your financial life, not fee you to death. We are only going to charge a fee when you do something to incur one.”