Community banks and credit unions understand their core competitive difference in the market and it has everything to do with personal, local relationships. Credit unions have an additional mandate to return profits back to their members. Taken as a whole, these organizations will be very careful about introducing any new fees to their accountholders. With the financial services demand down and supply up, monkeying with the traditional competitive lines is not advised. Time will tell if this position is sustainable, but at least for now, consumers who want free checking should have plenty of institutions to consider.
“But unlike their largest competitors, Mitchell and other community banks have few immediate options for recouping their lost debit interchange revenue. For the smaller banks and credit unions that have long relied on close relationships with their customers and local communities, charging new fees could be tantamount to suicide.”