Tuesday, September 28, 2010

A Free Guide to No-Fee Banking

Recently the Toronto Star published an article entitled A Free Guide to No-Fee Banking in which they compared the services offered from both ING Direct and PC Financial. Considering we’ve been in the business of offering no-fee banking for 70 years we thought we should measure ourselves up to their ratings. Let’s see how the competition holds up.

Roseman: A free guide to no-fee banking
Published On Tue Sep 21 2010
By Ellen Roseman Personal Finance Columnist

Do you have an account with a big bank? Do you pay fees?

Maybe it’s time to switch. President’s Choice Financial and ING Direct are both running ad campaigns about the joys of no-fee banking.

So, let’s compare the two challengers and what they have to offer.

President’s Choice Financial – or PCF for short – is owned by Loblaw Cos. Launched 12 years ago, it’s in every province but Quebec and has more than one million customers with no-fee bank accounts.

ING Direct, owned by a big Dutch bank that came here in 1997, is known for high-interest savings and low-interest loans. It’s launching a no-fee daily chequing account, called Thrive, early next year – but 12,000 people are already trying it out.

Q: How much money can you save with no-fee banking?

A: PCF says up to $200 a year. ING says $185 a year.

The savings that can be obtained through an HCCU account all depends on the amount of services that an individual chooses to use. Without knowing how either PCF or ING are calculating their results we are unable to compare to their claims, but we would be happy to sit down and look at a member’s personal situation and show them how much they would be able to save.

Q: How many automated bank machines can you use without paying fees?

A: PCF offers free access to 3,800 ABMs. This includes its own machines and those operated by CIBC, its online banking partner.
ING offers free access to 2,500 ABMs in the Exchange network, usually located near credit unions (the bulk of the network’s members).

HCCU also offers free access to the 2,500 ABM’s on the Exchange network as well as the 2 ABM’s located in our branches.

Q: Do you pay to order cheques?

A: PCF doesn’t charge for cheques. ING gives you 20 free cheques and charges $10 for each 20 cheques you order after that (or 50 cents apiece). Both offer free cheque clearing services.
ING offers free unlimited email money transfers as an option to using cheques. PCF charges $1.50 for each email money transfer.

HCCU offers unlimited free personal cheques

Q: Do you pay for monthly statements sent by mail?

A: PCF offers free online access, but charges $1 for each monthly statement sent by mail. ING has free online access and won’t send monthly statements by mail for no-fee chequing – no matter what you pay.

HCCU offers free online access as well as free monthly statements

Q: Do you earn interest on your no-fee account?

A: PCF pays a five-tiered interest rate, starting at 0.05 per cent on the first $1,000, going up to 0.25 per cent on the part of the balance between $10,000 and $25,000 and to 0.5 per cent on the balance over $25,000.
ING has a three-tiered interest rate, starting at 0.25 cent on the first $50,000, going up to 1 per cent on the part of the balance from $50,000 to $100,000 and to 1.1 per cent on the balance over $100,000.

HCCU is currently paying 1.25% on our free Self Serve Savings account on every dollar you deposit. And this money can be accessed immediately at any time using telephone or online banking.

Q: Do you pay for overdraft protection?

A: PCF has a $4.97 minimum charge that applies in each month that overdraft protection is used. There’s also a fixed rate of 19 per cent a year on overdraft balances.
ING has a feature called Whoops Protection that covers overdrafts up to $250. You pay no fees or interest, as long as you put the money back into your account within 30 days.

HCCU offers Line of Credit Overdraft protection to a maximum of $10,000.00 at 8.49% interest calculated on the minimum daily balance.

Q: Can you talk to a real person face to face?

A: PCF has people in its pavilions near many grocery stores, including Fortinos, Zehrs and Real Canadian Superstore. An online store locator gave me 50 places to visit in a 60-kilometre radius from downtown Toronto.
ING has one Toronto café where you can talk to a real person. It’s at 111 Gordon Baker Rd., near Highway 404 and Finch Ave. E. A second café is planned for downtown (across from the Eaton Centre) next year.

At HCCU you can always talk to a person face to face. We have two branches serving the Hamilton area with extended hours to meet your schedule.

I’ll give each contender a closing argument.

Barry Columb, president of President’s Choice Financial: “We cater to all your banking needs, including index mutual funds with our partner CIBC. We also have a loyalty program that lets you earn PC points on transactions and redeem them for free groceries in our stores.”

Brenda Rideout, chief marketing officer, ING Direct: “We’re giving Canadians the features they want to use, including access to mobile banking. People love the email money transfers and email alerts. They’re telling us it’s about time we offered a no-fee chequing account.”

Malcolm Stoffman, CEO of Hamilton Community Credit Union: “At HCCU we’ve been offering no fee accounts for over 70 years. This is not a new concept to us. Being a full service financial institution means offering all the conveniences like Internet and telephone banking, surcharge free ATMs and high interest savings accounts, but being a Credit Union means offering fair pricing to everyone who walks through our front door.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Student Loan and LOC Contest Winners

Congratulations go out to all of the winners of our 2010 Student Loan and LOC contest. Below are the results:

1st Prize – iPod Touch – Sara Giglia

2nd Prize – iPod Nano – Ian Caldwell

3rd Prize – iPod Nano – Yvonne Fordham

Look for future contest coming up from HCCU

Friday, September 10, 2010

A Neu Hope

Debbie Foley, one of your friendly staff members of HCCU, has been volunteering her time with a local organization that will be hosting a fundraiser on Saturday October 23rd. Below is a letter from Debbie concerning the event and donations:


Dear Community Friends:

Friends and family are joining together to organize a fundraiser for a 20 year old Hamilton man named Billy Neu. Billy, a 4th year engineering student at Western University, suffered a life altering swimming pool accident on Friday, June 4th. As a result of a spinal cord injury, Billy has been left a paraplegic and will never walk again.

To ease the financial impact his family is now faced with, we are holding a dinner, dance and silent auction at the Ancaster Rotary Centre (Morgan Firestone Arena) located at 385 Jerseyville Road West in Ancaster on Saturday, October 23rd, 2010, at 7:00 p.m. for an anticipated 850 attendees.
Our committed group of volunteers are firm and dedicated in the belief that the family needs the support of everyone to make the transition easier to bring Billy home.

All proceeds raised from this fundraiser will go toward the costs of renovating the family home and vehicle, so they are wheelchair accessible for Billy. The parents, who have both devoted their lives to raise four wonderful boys, have had some financial setbacks in the past couple of years. Billy’s father was laid off after 30 years of service with his company, and without the benefit of a pension.
In order to reach our goal and raise the funds necessary to help Billy and his family, we are turning to community minded individuals and organizations for their support. We are hoping you will be able to provide a silent auction item or monetary donation to our cause.

Arrangements can be made for donations to be picked up by calling me or by faxing the attached sheet back to 905-546-3830. If you have any questions or wish to purchase tickets, please feel free to contact me at 905-388-3478

Thank you for your consideration and your anticipated generosity.

Very Sincerely,

Debbie Foley
Committee Member

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Heart and Stroke Big Bike Update

As you may remember, HCCU staff along with staff from Hamilton Municipal Employees Credit Union (HMECU) participated in the Big Bike for Heart and Stroke back in May. The evening was a great success raising funds for the Heart and Stroke.

The Big Bike season has now come to an end and we recently received notice from the Heart and Stoke outlining some of the successes from this year’s campaign including some highlights that we are personally proud of.


This is the final Big Bike e-mail of the SEASON! We want to thank EACH and EVERY ONE of you for making this BIG BIKE experience special and a lot of fun. We hope that everyone had a great time and are very proud to have had such a great year!

This could not have been done without the tireless work that each and every organization has put into forming a team, encouraging them to fundraise and putting their hearts into it! It takes very special people to accomplish this task and we have had the privilege of working with some very wonderful individuals in the Hamilton, Ancaster, Dundas, Waterdown & Stoney Creek areas.

Thank you for everything! Now, without further ado - here is the final update of the season

2010 Big Bike Total:

$140 220!!!! (PLUS MORE TO COME!!)

Top 3 Fundraising Teams


Top 10 Fundraisers


Thank you once again for such a great season and joining us to:


Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Canada Day BBQ

On Wednesday June 30th HCCU will be having a BBQ at both of our branches to celebrate Canada Day.

Bring the family in for a hotdog, pop, and maybe some dessert.

All of the funds raised will be donated to the Cancer Assistance Program. Hope to see you there!

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Savings through CUMIS Insurance

Most of you are aware of the savings that can be earned through an account with HCCU. You might use one of our no to low fee chequing or savings account, or maybe you’re using our Debit One plan and saving on Interac Fees. Or maybe you’re saving money with a low interest rate on a Consolidation Loan, or a great rate on a mortgage, but many of you may not be aware of the savings that can be earned by using some of our business partners.

By being a member of HCCU you can take advantage of a discounted rate on Home and Auto insurance through CUMIS.

Recently Jenn Vandehaar, HCCU Manager of Operations, had her insurance up for renewal and gave CUMIS a call to see if the rates were any better.

“I had insurance on my house and our two family vehicles and after switching to CUMIS, I saved a combined total of $950.17 a year.”

Now that’s some incredible savings.

If you’d like to get a quote from CUMIS insurance click here and follow the instructions on their webpage. Be sure to let them know you’re a member of Hamilton Community Credit Union to take advantage of their great rates.

If you’d like to share some of your stories of savings we’d love to hear from you. Please comment below or send off an email to jmoat@hccu.on.ca

Friday, May 28, 2010

HCCU on the Big Bike Update

Last night HCCU staff along with staff from Hamilton Municipal Employees Credit Union (HMECU) participated in the Big Bike for Heart and Stroke.

The evening was a great success and we are extremely proud that HCCU raised over $4000, and together with HMECU, were able to donate just over $8500 to this great cause!

Below are some pictures from this fantastic event.