New Service Fees by SoHum’s Community Credit Union ‘Outlandish,’ Says Letter to the Editor

CCUSH_Front

The Community Credit Union of Southern Humboldt [Photo from their website here.]

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Dear Editor:

More than thirty years ago I was one of the first to become a member of the Community Credit Union of Southern Humboldt (CCUSH), but after all these years that association might soon be over. The reason? New service fees just announced by CCUSH. Starting June 1 nearly all members will have to pay $5.00 for each paper statement received in the mail. The only way to avoid this fee is to opt for electronic statements, which I do not want to do. The notification of this fee was in a nondescript enclosure in my recent statement, hidden among a slew of fees for other services that few ordinary members are likely ever to use.

These coercive tactics are something I expect of a large commercial bank, not my local credit union. Likewise the outlandish fees that are many times the actual cost of the service. If CCUSH wishes to eliminate the very things that distinguish it from commercial banks, there is little reason to continue banking with them, especially when other Humboldt County credit unions don’t indulge in this type of coercion and price gouging.

Richard Finch
Garberville

UPDATE: See a response to this letter here.

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22 comments

  • Wow now not everyone has access to technology come ccush this is not cool.

  • Too right, I totally agree that their new “cost recovery schedule” is a bit ridiculous.

  • tough decisions

    Paper statements are a huge expense, with a minimum production cost of $1.15 each including postage. Let’s make a wild guess that the union has 8000 members with 12 statements per year. That equates to $110,000 in costs each year.

    If a small union needs to cut costs in order to maintain viability, is this not a prime cost to eliminate? And then isn’t a compulsory fee a wise course of action?

    And if the union cannot make these sort of tough decisions, they may no longer exist. So in that context, perhaps working with them by getting email on your phone may be worth keeping them in the community?

    • Dear Tough, I doubt that you can back up the idea that paper statements cost anything like $1.15 each, including postage. Lets make a wild guess that the union has 1000 members and the statements cost 50 cents each including bulk rate postage. That’s $6000 a year for those 12 statements.

      Banks make their money by paying less interest for your deposits than they charge for their loans. That’s a good system and we have no evidence that the new charges were to “maintain viability.” In fact with the bank down the street out of business, the credit union should be booming.

      Do you know something that we don’t?

    • Even accepting the unsupported figures of Tough Decisions (strange that the name of the commenter would reappear in the text of the comment–are you associated with CCUSH?) , a charge of $5.00 for a service that (might) cost $1.15 is a profit of nearly 335%. If Ed Denson’s 50 cents is closer to the actual cost, that’s a profit of 900%. CCUSH might call it “cost recovery.” I call it price gouging.

      • tough decisions

        Do you not understand what a”compulsory fee” means? Next time do a little research before you waste all of our time and yours.

  • I am totally fine with their new fee schedule. I have done my statements on line for several years, so I see no changes.

  • i want my dump fees refunded for the stack of mail from you from the last 10 yrs

    no really

  • I gave up trying to do e-banking with them after 3 attempts to get my online banking account functional. I had to delete all the cookies from my browser history, which wiped out all my other passwords and logins for everything else. So, I’ve basically had to delete and restore all my login information three times, and I still cannot login to my account. I’ve sat with a Customer Service Rep twice (losing hours). I met with a young woman who managed their website once. I did what they told me and it still hasn’t worked. I chose not to go paperless because their website is not accessible to me. Now I have to pay them for my statements?? I don’t think so. I’ve had it with financial institutions using our money and charging us for it. CCUSH is holding millions in deposits and paying very little interest on those deposits. I also object to service fees being imposed for transactions that exceed the transfer of more than several thousand dollars per month. Greed continues to run rampant here and I grow more weary.

  • I too will take my considerable funds out of the Credit Union if they insist on charging for the statement.

  • I was under the impression that as members we were part owners of the credit “union”. Should we not have had the opportunity to weigh in on this decision, rather than having it sprung on us with only a short time to adjust?
    I too am technologically limited and getting the site on my smart phone (my only access) was daunting & time consuming. The CCUSH has no problem sending lots of irrelevant crap with the statements….why not eliminate the crap & keep the statements available to the off line members?

  • Update on the CCUSH situation. I e-mailed a copy of the original letter to the President/CEO of CCUSH and received a reply from an assistant. The reply referred to details of my banking history to remind me that I “have chosen to use very few of the services offered…a very limited engagement with our organization” and then goes on to detail those services I have used. Is it ethical for employees of a banking institution to go on fishing expeditions in customers’ personal accounts to answer such a complaint (which the person who contacted me insisted on calling an “inquiry”)?

    The reply from CCUSH went on to state that its new fee schedule was created “for those members who choose to use our banking services to their fullest.” My interpretation of this statement: CCUSH is not interested in small-time depositors like me or their opinions, but is focused more on their big-money depositors. So they’re waiving or reducing fees on services the well-healed use and gouging the less well-healed for basic but less profitable services. CCUSH seems to be treating its service fee schedule as some sort of rewards program for those who do the most business with it. This strikes me as an odd attitude for a credit union.

    As for the need for “cost recovery” for mailing paper statements, anyone who believes this should take a look around CCUSH while standing in line, at the spacious, opulent surroundings and the disproportionately large number of staff wandering around in shirtsleeves in a room with the thermostat turned up higher than I can afford to keep mine at home.

    Finally, I have no problem with electronic banking…when I choose it. What I object to is being coerced into using it when I don’t want to.

  • Not everyone uses a computer. Not everyone is tech-savy. Charging those CU members for needing paper statements is discriminatory. It penalizes them financially, which is unfair. How very disappointing!
    I wonder how much capital and good-will the COMMUNITY CU will lose with this move…Perhaps fee exemptions under certain circumstances could be considered.

  • I find it amusing that we are all here, freely using digital technology, to complain about having to use digital technology.

    • Ernie, my complaint is not about using technology, it’s about being coerced into doing so by a member-owned institution, and also about the fee for a paper statement which is far in excess of the cost of its production. I have done business with other financial institutions than CCUSH and though they have uniformly encouraged me to use electronic banking, none has gone so far as to refuse to provide paper statements unless I pay for them. This includes both other credit unions and mega-banks like Chase.

      I also just raised another, perhaps even more important, question in a recent comment: Does CCUSH and its board consider it ethical behavior for an employee of CCUSH to go on a fishing expedition in my personal account in order to answer a complaint like this? I find this questionable behavior at least as disturbing as the prospect of the fee increase.

  • This is an excerpt from a longer piece which I’ve submitted to Letters to the Editor. We want to be fully transparent and address your issues and concerns.

    Recently we have listened to you share your feelings regarding the new fees, specifically the statement and cash handling fees. We want you to know that we hear you. Your board of directors, supervisory committee and staff have been grappling with the rising costs of managing Community Credit Union. When a bank abandons a community with very little notice the resulting rush to move accounts to the north of town or to the south puts a strain on everything and everyone effected by that desertion.

    To the non-banker it can feel like a rip-off. After all, how much can a statement actually cost? Plenty!

    The actual expenses associated with statements are rising and will continue to do so into the future as most of the country moves toward paperless. The number of companies who print statements are shrinking and the price for this service continues to increase. Our actual expense in 2015 was: $35,410.03 to print, stuff and mail statements. At mid year we had 5,500 members (with a very few already taking electronic statements). That equates to $6.44 per statement. Many credit unions and banks charge for statements to help offset the growing expenses. We have striven to provide as many access points to your account information as possible: speak with a teller, call into the call center, call the automated teller (toll free), view your account online through homebanking, and to receive your periodic statement either by paper or electronically. Each one of these access points represent our response to your request for choices. Each of them comes at a cost to us.

    Many have indicated that they do not have a computer and do not want to learn how should they have an access point. After all, there should be an advantage (and waiver) when you reach your golden years. We’ve heard you and agree; management will take a recommendation to the next board meeting requesting a waiver of the printed statement fee when a member reaches age 62. However, if you are interested in learning more about how to sign up for an electronic statement, training classes are being scheduled at the Healy Senior Center. We hope to have training sessions set up at the Senior Housing Community Room (arrangements pending), there are computers at the local library (training if needed is available from many staff members here at the credit union) and we have arranged for discounted minutes at Emerald Technology. Every time you chose to take an active participating role in your credit union, we all win.

  • “Our actual expense in 2015 was: $35,410.03 to print, stuff and mail statements.” I find it strange that the representative of a banking institution cannot do simple math. $35,410 a year divided by 5,500 members is $6.44 for A YEAR’S STATEMENTS, not for each statement. If a member receives 12 statements a year, then it seems Ed Denson’s estimate of 50 cents a statement is pretty close. So why are you proposing to charge $5.00 for each statement?

    I also find strange the argument that the charge is justified by a “rush to move accounts” to CCUSH. Shouldn’t this increase in members argue AGAINST a fee increase rather than for it? Or am I missing some sort of paradoxical logic in this argument?

    And while you’re at it, how about addressing my concerns about employees and officers of CCUSH indulging in fishing expeditions in my personal banking accounts to glean information about me. Does CCUSH consider such a lackadaisical attitude towards member privacy ethically acceptable?

  • Pingback: Local Credit Union Responds to Accusations of ‘Outlandish’ Fees – Redheaded Blackbelt

  • How about that private parking spot paid for by us to Chris Brannon .That spot would be a great place for a handicapped parking spot for his apartments . How about the next time before you spend our money you ask the members first . I believe you are capable of walking more than ten feet to your car

  • What the hell do we pay that director that can’t add ? I hear shes taking the money and running at the end of the year anyway

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