Are Banks Too Expensive to Use?

To the Editor:

Lisa Servon’s recent New York Times Op-Ed “Are Banks Too Expensive to Use?” October 29, 2014 poses an important question about the barriers many consumers face when trying to access basic financial services.  High cost services and unpredictable fees make opening a bank account an option that many households simply can’t afford.   Suggesting that check cashing establishments are the solution is a disservice to consumers, particularly low-income consumers, because it fails to present the full range of options available. Specifically, the Op-Ed fails to report on the safe, affordable option that credit unions represent. Credit unions are local, member-owned, governmentinsured financial institutions. Unlike banks, there are no external stockholders. Each depositor is a member and owner of the institution.  Profits are returned to the credit union’s members in lower fees and better rates. Community development credit unions, represented by the National Federation of Community Development Credit Unions, are organized by, for and of low-income consumers. They offer a range of small dollar consumer loans, small business and mortgage loans and transparent savings and checking accounts that build, and when necessary repair, the financial lives of unbanked and underbanked consumers. These credit unions reinvest in their communities and are an antidote to the high-cost check cashers and payday lenders that siphon money out of the pockets of those that can least afford it. Help give New Yorkers an alternative to the high cost of mainstream banks by printing the names of the 17 community development credit unions in New York City.


Cathie Mahon

President/CEO, National Federation of Community Development Credit Unions


1199 SEIU FCU, New York, NY

All Souls FCU, New York, NY

Bethex FCU, Bronx, NY

Brooklyn Cooperative FCU, Brooklyn, NY

Church of the Master FCU, New York, NY

Fidelis FCU, New York, NY

Love Gospel Assembly FCU, Bronx, NY

Lower East Side People's FCU, New York, NY

Neighborhood Trust FCU, New York, NY

New York University FCU, New York, NY

Paul Quinn FCU, Flushing, NY

Queens Cluster FCU, Oakland Gardens, NY

SPC Brooklyn FCU, Brooklyn, NY

St. Mark's FCU, New York, NY

Transfiguration Parish FCU, Brooklyn, NY

University Settlement FCU, New York, NY

Urban UpBound FCU, Long Island City, NY


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