The credit union's first location opened in 1967. In recent years, it has shifted to provide customers with banking services free of fees—such as overdraft, wire transfer and account maintenance fees—forgoing $2 million in annual revenue, according to a release from the company.
Amplify CEO Kendall Garrison, who took over shortly before the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, said the idea came to him during a meeting as an opportunity to give back to customers.
"I sort of just threw out the idea. Our members don't really appreciate these, so why don't we just stop charging them," Garrison said in an interview with Community Impact Newspaper. "Everyone looked at me like I had completely lost my mind. Over the course of time, we came to realize that this is actually something we could do. This would be a member giveback unlike any other traditional financial institution in the country."
As a result, company officials said the number of charge-off accounts, or unpaid accounts that are determined to be delinquent and uncollectable, have significantly decreased. Bank membership—the number of customers holding accounts with Amplify—has grown considerably, outpacing the company's historical growth rate by 44%.
Instead of drawing revenue from these fees, Amplify has also shifted to focusing on core deposits and interchange income, with the latter being more commonly known as merchant fees. When Amplify cardholders swipe their card, a fee is charged to merchants, not to customers.
“It’s counterintuitive to think giving up a few million dollars of guaranteed revenue could improve your income, but that was our bet and so far. It’s paying off," Garrison said in a release regarding the move.
Amplify also gives back to the community through its Safe Place to Call Home initiative. Through this initiative, Amplify partners with local organizations, such as the Saint Louise House, the American Red Cross and Caritas of Austin, to assist those who are experiencing homelessness.