SOURCE: BancVue

December 18, 2008 09:28 ET

Consumers' Interest High at Community Banks and Credit Unions

People Fleeing Megabanks Find Community Banks Paying up to 6% Yields

AUSTIN, TX--(Marketwire - December 18, 2008) - BancVue, a leading provider of products and consulting to community banking institutions, reported a 96% jump in deposits in the third quarter of its REWARDChecking® accounts, a free checking account offered by more than 450 community financial institutions across the country (view local institutions at www.checkingfinder.com).

"It took $4 gasoline to get folks to think about their driving habits," said Don Shafer, Chairman of BancVue. "Similarly, it took a meltdown of the megabanks and other financial institutions to get consumers really thinking about where they are putting their money, who they can trust and what results they should expect."

The deposits into community banks' REWARDChecking accounts reflect a growing trend in deposits among community banks with assets of less than $10 billion. According to the FDIC, these banks have seen an increase in deposit growth this year from a minus 0.77% in Q1 to a positive 2.06% in Q3. Larger banks witnessed a 3.81% decline in growth of deposits for the same period.

At the same time, the Federal Reserve reported that October deposits and lending at community banks outpaced the overall industry. Between October 1 and October 22, community banks saw deposits rise 1.1 percent, or nearly $27 billion, to more than $2.4 trillion. For the same period, the nation's 30 largest U.S. chartered banks saw $44 billion, or 1.2 percent of deposits, walk out the door, leaving them with less than $3.8 trillion.

"Through products like REWARDChecking, community financial institutions are winning back customers from the faltering megabanks and investment houses," continued Shafer. "Americans are indicating that they enjoy investing their money locally, and they benefit from high yields, fiscal safety and customer service."

Further confirming the point, month-to-month applications on CheckingFinder.com, a website that connects consumers with community financial institutions offering high-yield checking accounts, jumped 14% from July to August, 46% from August to September, and 53% from September to October. A small sampling of applicants on the site indicated nearly seven out of 10 were moving their funds to community financial institutions from large banks.

To illustrate the competitive yields offered from a variety of different-sized banks, the following table compares community and megabanks (as of December 15):

    COMMUNITY BANKS                         YIELDS  PRODUCT
    Community Bank of Pleasant Hill, MO     6.10%   High-yield Checking
    First Robinson Bank, IL                 6.01%   High-yield Checking
    Legence Bank, IL                        6.01%   High-yield Checking
    Community Bank of Raymore, MO           6.01%   High-yield Checking
    Three Rivers FCU, IN                    6.01%   High-yield Checking
    Florida Central Credit Union, FL        6.01%   High-yield Checking
    Union State Bank/Bank of Atchison, KS   6.01%   High-yield Checking
    Bank of Granite, NC                     6.00%   High-yield Checking

    MEGABANKS
    WAMU                                    5.00%   CD (5 years)
    eLoan                                   4.75%   CD (6 years)
    Schwab                                  3.60%   CD (18 months)
    ING                                     3.75%   CD (1 year)
    HSBC                                    3.50%   CD (1 year)
    Countrywide (BofA)                      3.10%   CD (9 months)
    eTRADE                                  2.25%   CD (12 months)

For more information on community banks and credit unions that offer high interest checking accounts, visit www.checkingfinder.com.

About BancVue

BancVue is the leading provider of innovative software, marketing, and consulting solutions to community financial institutions nationwide. Serving nearly 500 community banks and credit unions around the country, BancVue's solutions allow these institutions to compete and win in the war for deposits. Consumers benefit from the development and implementation of BancVue's innovative products, including REWARDChecking®, a free high-yield checking account specifically designed for community banks and credit unions. For more information on BancVue, visit www.bancvue.com.

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