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CUs Still Lead in Free Checking Account Offerings
Monday, March 2, 2015 6:35 AM

A new study from Bankrate.com shows the big gap between the percentage of banks and credit unions offering free checking still exists.

According to the analyst who brought the report to light, 72 percent of America's largest credit unions still offer standalone free checking accounts, while only 38 percent of the nation's largest banks and thrifts do the same. In addition, 26 percent of credit unions—for a total of 98 percent—offer checking accounts that become free if certain requirements are met.

"The numbers illustrate that free checking is a staple product across most credit unions," said Greg McBride, chief financial analyst at Bankrate.com. "This has been the case with credit unions before it became fashionable to offer free checking, after regulatory changes pushed banks off the free checking bandwagon."

The study also shows that among surveyed CUs, no account required more than $100 to open, and 62 percent have no minimum opening deposit. "The average minimum required to open an account is just $9.84," explained McBride.

The report confirmed, too, that CUs still charge lower fees, with the $26.78 being the average overdraft fee at credit unions, compared with $32.74 at banks.

Read the full story at CU Today.