The P.A.

A weekly address from Patrick Adams,
President of St. Louis Community Credit Union

Mr. President, Please Leave Bank of America Alone!

On October 11th, 2011, posted in: Uncategorized by 1 Comment

I’m too busy with other things but, if I had the time and gumption, I would write President Obama regarding his public expression of discontent over the way Bank of America treats their customers.  His interview was with George Stephanopoulis.  Here’s what I’d start with: Dear Mr. President, there is a name for what you want Bank of America to do – it’s called a credit union.

During the interview with ABC (at the 1:34 mark to be exact), President Obama started talking about Bank of America.  He touched on what he feels banks should do and encouraged them to consider being opposed to charging fees:  consider “taking less fees and treat their customers right” is what he said.

Sir, you have aptly described a credit union.  That’s our mantra.  Your brevity has fairly encapsulated the fight song for 7,500 credit unions across our country.

Credit unions have been doing what you ask for just over one hundred years in the USA.  St. Louis Community has subscribed to your sage advice since October 1942.  See, we’re a not-for-profit financial co-op that exists solely to increase our members’ standard of living and better their lifestyle.  Thus, we have low fees and treat our members (we call them members since it’s a cooperative) very, very well.  Bingo!  You’ve found your solution.

Mr. President, with all due respect, from a selfish business perspective, we wish you would not tell BofA what to do with their fees.  Please leave them alone.  They’re the best marketing we have.  Consumers vote with their feet.  We know…you’re watching out for a whole bunch of people, but in our little corner of the world, please, SHH!!!  If the $5 monthly debit card charge is too much, consumers will let them know.  They’ll pack up their checking accounts, direct deposit and home banking and show up on our stoop.  Bingo!  They’ve found their solution.  And that’s what you want, right?

As long as I had a pen in hand and streaming consciousness, I would continue to write something like this… Mr. President, since we’ve determined your love for credit unions, this is probably a good time to ask you to work with us to ensure the guys and gals on Capitol Hill don’t get any wild ideas about legislation or regulation that hurts all the good that we do.  See, too much regulation equates to credit union costs increasing – which dampens our ability to give back.

Mr. President, we are now in a world in which people are looking for value.  Whether it’s household products, clothes or even ketchup, consumers actively seek the very best deal.  A world once filled with ‘conspicuous’ consumption has been replaced with ‘mindful’ consumption.  Savings is up, and spending is mindful.  It is cool to practice thrift.  Trust me, lots of people will find credit unions because of BofA’s $5 fee.  So with all due respect, if you want consumers treated well, please, SHH!

One Response to “Mr. President, Please Leave Bank of America Alone!”

  • Catie says:

    I just opened a savings and checking account with stl community credit union, and I plan to close my BoA account as soon as I get my card in the mail. I switched for exactly the reasons you say – that $5 debit fee pushed me over the line, but I'd never felt happy loaning my money to a gigantic, for-profit corporation. 

    I know the Occupy Wall Street guys are advocating for people to move their money out of big banks and into credit unions. Hopefully you (and other non-profit credit unions) will see an increase in customers because of the publicity from that!

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