Arizona Federal Credit Union has strayed from its mission of People Helping People. This new $3 per month membership fee program seems to be an indirect way to kick the most vulnerable, underserved, and poor out the door, because they are the ones with the lowest balances. Someone living paycheck to paycheck with less than $100 in their account will suffer a -36% or worse return on their money. How does that promote financial education? A $100 average balance on January 1, 2013 minus $36 in annual fees results in a $64 balance at year end. $100-36=$64. How is this mutually beneficial to the poor? Arizona FCU is turning its back on low and moderate-income families, while rewarding the richest members, as they stated the biggest payout was over $3000! Instead of rebating interest paid on loans with this gimmick of Plus, simply lower the loan rates and raise the savings rates.
Arizona FCU claims concern for community yet the new policy is pushing the poor to the curb with the required $3 monthly membership fee, changing the rules of the game. If one is already in the door as a member, it is wrong and unjust to be charging them $3 every month to stay a member. The standard credit union model nationwide is “once a member, always a member.” Arizona FCU talks about members showing loyalty to Arizona FCU, but Arizona FCU is not showing loyalty especially to its poorest members. The credit union should be charging those that use particular services for those services, not everyone, including those who don’t want them. The poor members who walk to work, ride a bicycle, or take the bus should not be forced to pay for the car buying service with the $3 member dues. Those who do not have a debit card should not be subsidizing those who lose theirs, so those members can get a new one. Align the charges with the services that the members use. These policies are especially harmful to the most disadvantaged people of our community. Besides, some of these young and poor members will later be rising up to higher income levels. Arizona Federal should not be kicking its younger and poorer members to the curb now, because they are the older and richer members of the future.
“Concern for Community
While focusing on member needs, cooperatives work for the sustainable development of their communities.”
Let’s return to being a credit union and stop acting like a bank going hog-wild on fee income, disguised as a credit union in name only!