In October 2011, State Employees’ Credit Union (SECU) announced its support of The Pew Charitable Trust recommendations to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) of full and fair disclosure of checking account policies and fees at all financial institutions. Recommendations included full and concise fee disclosures, reasonable and proportional overdraft fees, and elimination of transaction reordering for maximization of overdraft fees. SECU immediately and voluntarily adopted the recommendations by publishing a concise, one page disclosure outlining its checking account fees and terms, overdraft options, transaction processing order/funds availability policy, and guidelines for members to follow during a dispute. In a recent follow-up study, Pew indicates that much still needs to be done by financial institutions to meet the recommendations of full and fair disclosure.
The Credit Union, whose disclosure is included in the follow-up, firmly believes that its checking account product continues to meet and exceed the recommendations noted in the original report. The Credit Union also stands behind the Pew request that CFPB make regulatory changes to ensure that consumers can make well-informed comparisons for checking account products among financial institutions without worry that they will be adversely affected by hidden or excess fees. And, to show ongoing support of Pew’s proposed regulations, SECU is proactively taking the opportunity to further enhance its disclosure to provide complete assurance that it aligns with the overall objective of the study.
State Employees’ Credit Union is only one of three credit unions to fall under CFPB regulation. Operating under a working principle of “Do the Right Thing,” SECU designed its checking account to be a low-cost, consumer-friendly choice --- and with a low $1 monthly maintenance fee, daily interest, no minimum balance requirement and low-cost overdraft transfer plan, it still remains one of the best value accounts among all financial institutions. The member-owned cooperative also provides checking account holders the ability to designate the $1 monthly maintenance fee to benefit SECU Foundation projects, with 99% of members choosing this option in support of North Carolina education, housing, healthcare and human services intitiatives.
SECU’s Senior Vice President of Support Services, Jennifer Hamrick notes, “SECU strongly supports Pew’s proposed legislation to protect consumers from unfair fee and disclosure practices. The Credit Union has consistently worked to make sure members and potential members have the proper information to compare and make informed decisions regarding their financial services. As a not-for-profit cooperative that serves as the trusted provider of financial services to over 1.7 million members, we owe it to members to offer an exceptional value product, and have measures in place to protect them from others who operate with a different mentality. We believe SECU is ‘Doing the Right Thing’ for members and all consumers.”