From time to time on this blog, I express the wish that banks and credit unions would stop sticking forks in each other's faces long enough to cooperate on issues of common concern. Credit unions in Missouri have obviously been reading my blog posts, taken them to heart, and decided to tell me to stick my feel-good bloviations where the moon don't shine.
The gist of their advertising campaign appears to be that all commercial banks are tied directly to Wall Street and all credit unions are tethered tightly to The Cosmic Muffin. I guess all residential mortgage loans that are made by credit unions remain in portfolio and none ever end up in a mortgage backed security that's prepared, packaged, rated, bought, or sold by a Wall Street firm. That's certainly believable.
I also love the "real" customer quote on the "How To Switch" page about how banks have "all these different policies." I guess credit unions have only one policy that deals with everything, is that correct? Credit union compliance officers, let me hear from ya' on that aspect. As for being quick-on-the-draw regarding decisions and actions, my wife's recent attempt to set up a simple traditional IRA jumbo CD account at a credit union down the street ran aground on the shoals of the credit union's complete befuddlement with the concept of a trustee-to-trustee transfer. It took them a long time to screw that up and an even longer time to unscrew it up.
In fairness to credit unions generally, the community bank across the street from that credit union understood the quick-decision concept quite well, but then fatally enraged your trusty correspondent, who was also trying to set up a checking account, by insisting that Texas law required a legal professional who practiced under his or her own name to file an assumed named affidavit (Texas law does not require this). It was bad enough that the legally-challenged bank officer repeatedly argued with your favorite bloviator on this point of law, but then pulled out the account application of a woman who had set up a sole proprietorship under an assumed name and showed me reams of personal information about this woman. I told him that I could never do business with a bank whose deposit account officers routinely violated not only bank privacy policies, but state and federal privacy laws. His shocked expression was quickly succeeded by a look that conveyed his dawning realization that he had stepped in something squishy and foul-smelling, which, in turn, was succeeded by the vision of the swiftly moving bodies of my spousal unit and myself exiting the bank's premises.
The Bozo Factor: it's an equal opportunity affliction. It strikes credit unions and community banks with a distinct lack of partiality. I know as many banks that can make quick decisions for customers as credit unions that couldn't make a correct decision quickly if their pants were on fire and a quick, correct decision would enable them to jump into a barrel of pleasantly cool river water. And vice versa.
Thus, if you want to harp on legitimate distinctions between banks and credit unions, be my guest. For example, the advertisements do state that credit unions generally offer better rates, which is true, but fail to note that this is due to the fact that they don't pay income taxes. Yet, they yearn to be not only just like banks, but better banks than banks, only better banks that shirk their patriotic duty to fund state and federal government raping and pillaging of taxpayers like their for-profit commercial banking brethren and...oh yeah...credit union members must do. That might make for a fascinating fact-focused ad campaign, don't you think?
At least these ad campaigns give us all something to do in between wondering whether the washed up actor, the washed up comedian, or the washed up athlete will be the next bad dancer booted off "Dancing With The Stars." For that, we can be grateful.