Meridian reveals the benefits of credit union membership in time for Bank Transfer Day

TORONTO, Nov. 1, 2011 /CNW/ - In advance of Bank Transfer Day on November 5, 2011, Meridian, Ontario's largest credit union, encourages Ontarians to experience how credit unions offer a positive alternative to traditional financial institutions.

Originally conceived in the United States, Bank Transfer Day, a grassroots movement calling on individuals to close their accounts in traditional and publicly-traded financial institutions and transfer their funds to a local credit union, has quickly picked up momentum in Canada.

"Credit unions have been providing Canadians with financial services, products and advice for more than 100 years, yet for many Canadians - especially here in Ontario - there is still confusion about how credit unions differ from the traditional banks," says Sean Jackson, Meridian CEO and President.  "With Bank Transfer Day quickly approaching, I urge Ontarians to take this opportunity to experience first-hand the benefits of credit union membership."

One of the key distinctions between traditional banks and credit unions is ownership. Unlike a traditional bank, credit unions are not accountable to their shareholders but instead to their members. Upon joining a credit union, an individual becomes a member and owns a share in the credit union.  That share entitles the individual to have a vote on various decisions made by the credit union, making credit union membership very democratic.

In addition to their lower banking fees, higher savings rates and flexible lending options, credit unions take a local approach to decision making.  At most credit unions, branch managers make the decision on loans and mortgages - not a corporate head office located miles away.

Credit unions also rank high in overall service experience.  This is because credit unions typically take a more personal approach to banking and take the time to fully understand their member's needs and offer them niche services.  For example, Meridian's industry first No-Bounce service, where members prior to bouncing a cheque are contacted and given an opportunity to resolve the matter before the transaction is processed, saves members from potentially embarrassing situations and service fees.

Profits made by credit unions are reinvested into the community through charitable donations and sponsorships.  Meridian, for example, has approved more than $5 million in sponsorships and donations to support more than 2,800 local neighbourhood organizations and events since 2005.

"Credit unions have truly remained the best-kept secret in Ontario and I urge Ontarians to visit their local credit union for a flexible, competitive financial services alternative," says Jackson.

About Meridian:
Meridian is Ontario's largest credit union, serving more than 263,000 Members at 63 Branches and 8 Commercial Business Centres in communities across south central Ontario. With more than 65 years of banking history, Meridian delivers a full range of financial services, solutions, and advice tailored to meet each Member's individual needs, including access to The Exchange® Network with more than 2,400 no-fee ABMs in Canada. Membership in Meridian is open to anyone looking for a financial services provider with a local, community focus that offers a viable alternative to traditional banking options.

SOURCE Meridian Credit Union

For further information:

For more information or to coordinate an interview with a Meridian spokesperson, contact:

Diane Medeiros
Manager, Media & Stakeholder Relations
(416) 597-4444 ext. 2667
diane.medeiros@meridiancu.ca

Lizanne McReelis
(647) 438-5414
lizanne.mcreelis@rogers.com


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