Credit Unions Signed 40,000 Members Nov. 5 via

Credit unions attracted more than 40,000 new account holders last week during the so-called Bank Transfer Day, according to a Washington-based trade group.

Member institutions reported about $80 million in new savings, or an average of about $2,000 per new account holder, the Credit Union National Association said today in a statement. That figure may also include new money from existing members, said Patrick Keefe, a spokesman for the group.

Consumers dubbed Nov. 5 as Bank Transfer Day, an effort to move deposits to credit unions, which are not-for-profit and owned by members. Charlotte, North Carolina-based Bank of America Corp. (BAC), the second-biggest U.S. lender by deposits, angered some customers when it announced plans to charge $5 a month for debit-card use. The firm dropped the fee, which would have started in January, last week after New York-based JPMorgan Chase & Co. (JPM), the biggest bank, and No. 3 San Francisco-based Wells Fargo & Co. (WFC) abandoned similar charges.

“Since Sept. 29 — the day Bank of America announced its now-rescinded monthly $5 debit card fee — average estimated membership increases nationally were around 20,000 new members each day,” said Bill Cheney, chief executive officers of CUNA. “On Saturday, consumers doubled the pace.”

Last week, CUNA said that at least 650,000 people joined credit unions since Sept. 29. That equals the new membership figure for all of last year, Keefe said. The lenders took in $4.5 billion in new savings accounts in the five weeks through early November, the group said.

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