Advancing Your Credit Union Mission With Checking Accounts

Mission Focused Checking Cover
(Last Updated On: September 29, 2022)

For some of your members, a debit swipe can regularly cost far more than the item they purchased. OD and NSF fees. Sure, they can be opt-in, but does that make them any better? When 75% of your fee revenue comes from 8% of members, that’s not mission-focused.

Those members can expect to see up to $250 a year in fees. That’s money which can go to more productive uses. Like savings or home improvements…even small niceties to make someone smile.

This is where you hear well-meaning rebuttals explaining how these fees support the credit unions’ free services. By all means, keep the good stuff. But should they be subsidized by your least financially stable members? A growing number of credit unions are saying “not here”.

Fees Aren’t A Necessity

Look at your revenue breakdown. What percent comes from punitive fees? It might seem unavoidable, but there are other ways to generate income. Ways which empower struggling members and provide capabilities that set your institution apart from banks and fintech apps.

Don’t take our word for it. Ally Bank made waves with their elimination of overdraft fees in 2021. Ah, but an online-only bank has an entirely different operating structure from your credit union. Good catch! Let’s look deeper.

Capital One has no overdraft fees, either. Of course, that’s a very big bank and probably has many other sources of revenue. It’s not a fair comparison. Let’s look within the CU movement. Alliant Credit Union doesn’t charge NSF or overdraft fees, but, like Ally, is online-only.

Surely it’s possible to transition a credit union like yours away from fee-based revenues. It’s apparent that fees are not a necessity.

Checking Cheat Sheet Tablet Cover

Your checking program is where loyalty, engagement, and onboarding really begin. So what are you doing to ensure it’s firing on all cylinders? This Cheat Sheet will give you 4 quick, actionable steps to make the most of your checking program.
Get the Cheat Sheet

Credit Unions Eliminating Fees

One need only look to Amplify Credit Union. They call it “fee-free banking”. Their goal? “…to remove the obstacles that stand between our members and financial success”.

Now that’s financial empowerment and mission-focused credit union service!

There are many ways to get to fee-free (or at least “no more punitive fees”). Stacy Armijo (Chief Experience Officer) of Amplify explained their approach in an exciting interview.

It can also be done by directly replacing that revenue. Like at ABNB FCU, where they are using value-added checking to generate new member friendly income.

Checking to Drive Mission & Positive Revenue

Your checking account without punitive fees is a new creature. It evolves into a source of delight, savings, and security, while preserving trust and confidence. Members can choose how they want your checking to work for them.

Mission-Focused Checking

Woman Sitting on Mountain with Vista
Freedom from unwelcome fees

Those no longer getting hit with fee after fee can relax and enjoy a checking account that accommodates their life. Finances tight right now? You’re covered. Finding a bit more budgetary freedom? Help guide extra funds to savings…with a bit set aside for a night out.

A truly fee-free checking account, coupled with a mobile app that gives members clear transaction details, easy navigation, and seamless Bill Pay access, serves needs and builds the relationship. Sometimes it comes down to being a solidly boring, yet effective, choice.

Revenue Growth Through Checking

Some members are on the lookout for more. They enjoy a range of subscription services, from music to movies to food. Of course, they’re not thinking about the account which pays for these things. I mean, it’s just a place that holds the money. Or is it?

Value-added checking makes the credit union their smartest subscription. From protecting their identity to helping cover the costs of that dropped phone, it more than pays for itself.

It also provides revenue to drive your mission. Getting rid of fees is easy. Affording to do so can be hard. Reimagine financial empowerment by using subscription funds to replace lost income.


StrategyCorps Subscription Model Client Story - Cover

Learn how one credit union made the change to subscription and the gains they saw following. Could you duplicate with your members? Get the data and honest insights needed in the Client Story.


Mission. Revenue. Value. Pick 3.

Three Arrows on Pavement with Feet
All paths move your credit union and members forward.

We believe in the credit union mission. We’re not the only ones. It’s also our position that credit unions don’t need the stick of regulatory action to do the right thing. Your checking accounts are the perfect place to build financial wellness, loyalty, delight…and non-punitive revenue.

Credit unions really can have all three. So will your members.Curious about more ways your credit union can deliver financial empowerment? Oh…we have a few ideas. Get these and more when you Subscribe to the Learning Library. Convert your inbox into a mission-driving strategy machine!

Image credits: StockSnap & Rama Krishna Karumanchi from Pixabay

Joe Winn - CU Geek

Blogger. Speaker. Part-time Jedi.

Focused on helping your bank or credit union grow in the face of emerging challenges.