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Are you paying attention to what is happening? I blogged some time ago about the distraction that was Dodd Frank.

I’m not bragging or anything but I think I was pretty spot on. Credit unions are still enjoying their exemption from the interchange amendment (as promised) and instead of worrying about potential loss of income we should’ve been preparing for the opportunity of the decade – new members that are going to finally move their money from the big-bad-TARP-taking-too-big-to-fail banks.  As I predicted, banks WILL find a way to make up for that lost income. B of A’s decisioin to begin charging for the debit card was the salt rubbed in the wound of their reputation… over.

Let’s face it – checking account promotions haven’t worked for years. Bill pay did its job. It is sticky. Most people feel stuck in their current relationship. The only time a person is willing to move their checking account is if they are so pissed off at their current financial institution.

Thank you Bank of America for pissing off your customers. Again.

But here’s the rub.

1. Most credit unions don’t need deposits right now. They need loans.

2. Most credit unions new member process is cumbersome. Frontline folks are either not trained or not given permission to qualify new members for credit. Fix that.

3. Switch kits suck. There, I said it. Everyone says they have one but no one has a decent one – that I’ve seen. It doesn’t help me “switch” it just illustrates, in brochure fashion, what a nightmare this is going to be. How about a human switch kit? Be the concierge for the checking and help them move these over.

4. Most credit unions don’t instant issue debit cards. At the center of this opportunity is the beloved debit card. B of A wants to charge their customers $5 a month to use it and if they switch to a credit union it’ll take them two weeks to get a new one. Fix that!

5.  Most credit unions are open from 9 to 5, Monday through Friday. And that wonderful woman Kristen Christian has declared Bank Transfer Day as a Saturday. Open your branches!

This is just the beginning of the marketer’s dream. You see, we have time. About two months and 10 days to be exact. To improve our onboarding experience. The earthquake hit when B of A made the announcement. The tsunami will hit on January 1st of next year when they actually begin charging the fee.

My husband Mark has always said that B of A’s tagline should be: “We Bank on Inertia.” And until now, it’s worked in their favor.

 But I predict that our time has finally come. We are TARP free, self-funded, financial cooperatives with a volunteer board. Somehow that has meaning again.

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October 2011