It’s apparent that Arizona Federal’s members see through this absurd money-grab by the executives of Arizona Federal. Whoever came up with this harebrained scheme should be fired. A monthly $3 fee for being a member is not a member benefit, no matter how you try to define or spin it. Did Arizona Federal not learn from the banks’ mistakes in 2011 when those banks wanted to begin charging a $5 monthly debit card fee and the consumer outrage that followed? That brought about Bank Transfer Day, the impetus for getting people to transfer their bank accounts to a credit union. At least with that plan, you could cancel your debit card to avoid the fee.
The key issue is not about if the institution is a bank or credit union, as in one being better than the other. At Arizona Federal Credit Union Members United, we are not against banks. We are against unjust fees, hypocrisy, dishonesty, and arrogance. It’s about what the institution does for its members or customers: being honest with them – not lying to them; only charging fees for services incurred – not charging fees even before services are incurred; treating them with respect – not lying to them that dues are mutually beneficial. Unavoidable monthly membership fees are a punishment for being a member.
What’s next? Will people need to pay $3 monthly membership dues before getting service from their hair stylist, dry cleaner? Should people have to pay $3 monthly membership dues to shop for groceries at our local Bashas’, Food City, Kroger, Safeway, Sprouts, Trader Joe’s, or Walmart. How would you feel if they started charging a fee? Would it help if these other merchants tried to pull one over on you by calling it membership dues that were mutually beneficial? Or would you still see through that lie? How about a restaurant, such as Applebee’s, McDonald’s, or Subway announcing they are going to begin charging $3 monthly membership dues so you have the privilege of eating there. Would you consider that mutually beneficial? Would more people patronize those businesses or less? Some have suggested, incorrectly, that if you get membership for free, that you do not value it. That is an insane idea. The businesses need to be valuing their customers. You shouldn’t be charged a fee to shop or give away your money!
As you can see, charging people monthly dues for being a customer is about the worst idea, whether it comes from a bank, credit union, or grocery store. Arizona Federal tried to fool their members by claiming a similarity to Sam’s Club and Costco which have annual member fees. The members know better and aren’t buying it. Sam’s Club and Costco are not similar because Arizona Federal doesn’t provide a quasi-wholesale pricing model. Arizona Federal is just a normal everyday credit union – but worse! Members aren’t getting more for their money with Arizona Federal. They are getting less! Members aren’t getting better rates and lower fees at Arizona Federal. They are getting worse rates and worse fees! Members aren’t getting better service. They are getting worse service. Arizona Federal charging membership “dues” would be like your local grocery stores and favorite restaurants suddenly charging dues. What a better way to show a lack of appreciation for your customers! Arizona Federal gives the bad service, and unpleasant customer experience as if shopping at WalMart, but wants to pretend and charge you as if you were shopping at Nordstrom or Whole Foods Market.
Arizona Federal’s offerings are not competitive and service is terrible. That is why their assets and member numbers are down. Members have left in droves, after being fed up with bad service, long wait times, high fees, and arrogant attitudes. Meanwhile competing credit unions have grown member numbers and total assets. A quick review of member feedback indicates members are highly unsatisfied with the service received at Arizona FCU, even before the new $3 monthly weasel fees were announced.
What’s going to be the new motto of credit unions? “We are different than a bank, because we charge you unavoidable $3 monthly membership weasel fees, and not even banks do that.” Great way to distinguish yourself, Arizona Federal!