Magazine article American Banker

Bankers Revel in Credit Union Gaffe

Magazine article American Banker

Bankers Revel in Credit Union Gaffe

Article excerpt

Byline: Jackie Stewart

Christmas came early for credit union bashers.

Bankers who questioned new membership data released in November by the Credit Union National Association were rewarded for their skepticism. The trade association said Monday that credit unions added 214,000 members in October, down from its initial estimate of 650,000 for Sept. 29 to Nov. 2. "There is a saying that you are supposed to measure twice and cut once," says Keith Leggett, a senior economist at the American Bankers Association. "They decided to cut without measuring."

The CUNA data was widely publicized in news media coverage of Bank Transfer Day and was cited as further evidence of customer frustration with banks, especially large ones.

CUNA said Monday it realized its mistake after collecting its regular monthly data on balance sheet figures and memberships. The new data also showed that savings at credit unions declined by $400 million in October instead of increasing by about $4.5 billion from Sept. 29 to Nov. 2 as originally stated.

"When these numbers came out so quickly, I think we were surprised there was an absolute number," says Terry Jorde, senior executive vice president and chief of staff at the Independent Community Bankers of America. "In the community banking industry, there isn't any way to know exactly what those numbers are."

ICBA took a different route than CUNA to gauge interest from potential new customers who may have switched from big banks. …

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