SECU Supports Disclosure on Account Policies
North Carolina State Employees' Credit Union (SECU) has joined other consumer advocates in support of the full and fair disclosure of checking account policies and fees at all financial institutions. >
Recommendations for enhanced disclosures were outlined in a Sept. 21, 2011, letter from the Pew Charitable Trusts to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB). > The recommendations stem from a recent Pew Safe Checking in the Electronic Age Project, which confirms the need for greater transparency in account disclosures to assist consumers in selecting checking account services most advantageous for their personal financial needs.
Specific recommendations from Pew to the CFPB include full and concise fee disclosures, reasonable and proportional overdraft fees, and elimination of transaction reordering for maximization of overdraft fees.
As a financial institution which falls under CFPB regulation and one of just three credit unions under this umbrella, SECU is encouraged that its current checking account service already exceeds the Pew recommendations, a news release said.
With a low $1 monthly maintenance fee, daily interest, no minimum balance requirement, and numerous overdraft prevention options, SECU's checking product reinforces the credit union's "Do the Right Thing" attitude, the release said.
SECU even permits checking account holders to designate the $1 monthly maintenance fee toward support of SECU Foundation projects across North Carolina, with 99 percent of members donating this fee to the SECU Foundation. > SECU, as a nonprofit member-owned cooperative, looks forward to highlighting its checking account as a "best practice" in consumer fairness for CFPB, according to Jennifer Hamrick, SECU senior vice president of support services.
"The credit union was created in 1937 to provide low-cost, consumer-oriented services beneficial to its members, and the organization has not deviated from that original purpose," Hamrick said. >"SECU's checking account has always represented an exceptional value for account holders - a simple, low-cost option that works for every member regardless of balance or transaction activity.
"It is very reassuring to see that our credit union checking account services already surpass Pew's recommendations. Consumers need a positive, supportive financial ally in these difficult economic times, and SECU seeks to serve in that role for our membership." >
Ardie Hollifield, manager of Pew's Safe Checking in the Electronic Age Project, said, "Nine out of 10 Americans have a checking account, making it the most widely utilized financial services product - one that is essential to the national economy. As vital as checking accounts are for American families, many contain hidden risks that can potentially harm account holders.
"Our recommendations, if implemented, not only protect consumers, but also can create a level playing field where all financial institutions can compete based on fair and transparent pricing."
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