More consumers flocked to credit unions last month than in all of 2010 combined, likely in part due to the controversy surrounding debit card fees.
At least 650,000 customers opened new accounts at credit unions since September 29, the day Bank of America announced it would charge customers a $5 per month fee to use their debit card for purchases starting in 2012, the Credit Union National Association estimates. If that number holds true, it would be more than the 600,000 consumers that joined credit unions in all of 2010.
More than 80 percent of the credit unions that experienced a boost last month attributed the growth to fees like Bank of America's or a mix of reactions to fees and "Bank Transfer Day" -- a social media-centered movement encouraging consumers to transfer their money from banks to credit unions or other non-traditional lenders, according to CUNA.
The banks are likely feeling the customer anger. A Bank of America official said the bank decided to scrap the debit card fee earlier this week as other banks also dropped their fees in response to the outcry, according to Reuters.