When Bank of America tried unsuccessfully a few months ago to charge its customers a $5 monthly fee for debit cards, some angry consumers advocated a so-called “Bank Transfer Day.”
Pioneer West Virginia Federal Credit Union took its own jab at bank fees by running an advertisement in the Sunday Gazette-Mail headlined, “Fee’d up with banks? Let’s make change!” Pioneer said it would pay its members 5 cents every time they use the credit union’s debit card. The ad declared, “Finally checking that makes cents!”
C. Dana Rawlings, Pioneer’s chief executive officer, said, “We started it in the midst of the uproar about the Bank of America wanting to charge its customers $5 a month for the privilege of carrying around a little piece of plastic in their wallet. We’re a co-operative; we work with the community and our members. We said, ‘We’re going to buck this trend and pay our members 5 cents every time they use the credit union’s debit card.’
“We have some members who swipe their card 50 to 60 times a month,” he said.
The “Fee’d up with banks” campaign began in September. In October and November the credit union attracted about 75 new members who opened checking accounts and asked for debit cards.