Nussle on Bloomberg: CUs best suited to meet consumers' financial needs

February 20, 2015

NEW YORK (2/23/15)--CUNA President/CEO Jim Nussle refuted point-by-point longstanding misunderstandings about credit unions in an appearance on "Bloomberg Surveillance" Friday.

During his appearance, Nussle cleared up some common misconceptions about credit unions, and explained why the cooperative model is best suited to meet the financial needs of the underserved.

"What we do may look like a bank, but how we do it and who we do it for are completely different than a bank model," Nussle said. "How we do it is not-for-profit. All the banks are for-profit." model itself that lends itself to serving members.

"It's not about how big they are, it's who they serve and how they do it," he said. "But size and scale can really help you support underserved populations and go into areas with a branch (where) maybe you couldn't go before."

Nussle pointed to several examples of how the cooperative model better serves consumers.

"For instance, we have the largest ATM network in the entire country, bigger than Bank of America, 30,000 ATMs," he said. "So if you join one credit union, you can likely get free ATM services across the country from a 30,000-ATM network, which is much different than if one had to do it one-by-one."

Co-anchor Brendan Greeley asked about places in America where consumers can't get a bank account, often called "banking deserts." Nussle countered by saying almost every one of those populations could be served by a credit union, and pointed to as a resource for consumers interested in finding a credit union to join.

Nussle said that he supposed "anecdotally" it is possible there are unreachable places, but, he added, "I'll bet you that you'll find in most instances those underserved populations not only qualify to join a credit union, but would be very well served by joining one.

"If you're someone out there on the street who has not had a checking account or a credit card, go in, because our model is different," Nussle said.

"We don't just open a checking account, we sit down with you. Let's talk about your first budget, let's talk about how your finances work, let's get you out of debt, let's raise your FICO score. How can we get you in a better situation?"

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