Texas-based credit union puts $2M back into the pockets of members annually
Amplify Credit Union has announced the launch of fee-free banking. Amplify members now pay zero fees on checking, savings, and business banking accounts. This includes no account maintenance fees (regardless of balance), no fees for overdraft protection, and no wire transfer fees.
“The banking industry is awash in half-measures around fees”
Kendall Garrison, CEO of Amplify Credit Union, views this as a bold next step for the banking industry. “The banking industry is awash in half-measures around fees,” he said. “At Amplify, we see things differently. You are trusting us with your money – not the other way around. If we really want to be a force for change in the banking industry, then not charging our members to access their own deposits was the obvious place to start.”
Over the past two years, bank fees have risen to record highs, with traditional banks charging more than ever before. Meanwhile, the interest depositors earn on checking and savings accounts has been at all-time lows. “There was a time when the ratio between interest rates and account fees made sense for customers, but that time has passed,” said Stacy Armijo, Chief Experience Officer for Amplify Credit Union. “When we realized our members pay an average of $33 per year in fees on deposit accounts – and yet the vast majority of them also earned less than $10 in interest over that same time – we realized it was time to change our business.”
In this video for employees, Armijo describes the reasoning behind making this shift and the greater community impact the organization discovered in the process. She expanded on that theme, “It’s a sad truth of the industry that banking fees hit vulnerable communities the hardest. As a member, even if your balances and behaviors help you avoid fees common elsewhere, you can now feel good knowing your deposits with Amplify help protect others from the vicious cycle bank fees can create.”
Ultimately, the fees the credit union has eliminated will put $2 million dollars per year back into the pockets of members and their families. On a per-member basis, that’s among the largest financial givebacks by credit unions reported last year and it benefits members regardless of their financial means. In this message for members, Armijo summarized it this way: “For us, it’s not just about giving back. It’s about not taking in the first place.”
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