Credit unions offer consumers an alternative to new bank fees - NBC Right Now/KNDO/KNDU Tri-Cities, Yakima, WA |

Credit unions offer consumers an alternative to new bank fees

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YAKIMA, Wash. - Local credit unions say they offer consumers a more affordable alternative to commercial banks as many institutions start introducing new fees this week to increase revenue.

Community banks and credit unions can often have lower charge rates for services because they are non-profit. Additional income made by the institution is used to offer high interest payments on accounts and keep reduce fees, according to staff.

"The individual that just wants to talk to a local person and get that local service and not have to figure out whether they're charged a fee every time they do one little thing," said Sharynn Hosier of Catholic Credit Union.

While ideal for the consumer, Hosier admits that credit unions may not be ideal for many businesses. Some do not offer some of the accounts or services they may need on a regular basis.

Commercial banks also tend to have more branch locations and ATMs but credit unions and smaller community banks join networks that allow their customers to use those cash machines without a service charge.

Recent government reforms prevented automatic overdraft protection fees for debit cards and asked institutions to change the order they cleared checks by size of the amount.