Study of Credit Unions

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    "The bankers have their hands deep in our wallets at the same time
    they're paying us pennies for interest," -- Ed Mierzwinski of PIRG
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	  C   R   E   D   I   T       U   N   I   O   N   S
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	   A r e   G o o d   F o r   Y o u r   W e a l t h
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	 From _Alternative Currents_, August 1993, newsletter
	  of the Alternatives Credit Union, which reprinted
	     the following from Prodigy Services Co., 6/9
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The Consumer Federation of America and the US Public Interest Research
Group are suggesting consumers switch to credit unions as an
alternative to banks. Their recommendation comes after a joint study
that found bank fees rising at four times the rate of inflation
between 1990 and 1993.

The average cost of interest-bearing bank checking accounts jumped 22%
from 1990 to 1993, to $197 a year, says the study. During the same
period, the cost of a regular bank checking account rose 18.5% to
$184 a year. Consumers with savings account balances of $200 lose an
average $23 a year because the fees to maintain that amount offset the
interest earned, the survey says.

58% of credit unions offer free checking, compared with only 18.9% of
banks, according to the CU Executive's 1992 fee survey. On average,
credit unions allow members 35 checks before fees kick in, compared
with only 14 free checks for banks. (Alternatives Credit Union has no
limit).

Credit unions require an average minimum balance of $136.67 for free
checking, compared with banks $494 average (Alternatives Credit Union
has no minimum balance requirement for free checking). And only 17%
of credit unions expect to raise or initiate fees on checking/share
draft programs this year.

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