Northwest Credit Unions Respond to ‘Bank Transfer Day’

Consumers are riding the waves to credit unions in the wake of big bank announcements that consumers will be charged for making purchases with their debit cards. The flames are being fanned even further by a viral movement started by a California art gallery owner called “Bank Transfer Day.” The Facebook fan page has been shared by over 300,000 consumers and encourages people to move their money from big banks to credit unions and community banks on or before Nov. 5.

Consumers are doing so in record numbers, and Northwest credit unions are answering their call in a number of innovative ways.

At Kitsap Credit Union, two of its branches—normally closed on Saturdays—are opening their doors for three consecutive Saturdays beginning Oct. 29.

“Member service is extremely important, and that’s what drove the decision,” said Leah Olson, Vice President of Marketing. Olson believes recent positive media coverage about the value credit unions provide to consumers is driving an increased volume in new account activity. “We have been opening new accounts for an increasing number of our friends and neighbors over the past few weeks. To better serve the community and accommodate the new account volumes, we’ve decided to open two additional branches on Saturdays for a period of three weeks.”

The Washington-based credit union’s Bainbridge Island branch at 1050 Hildebrand Lane and an additional Bremerton branch at 155 Washington Ave. will be open Oct. 29, Nov. 5 and Nov. 12 from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.

Oregon’s Rivermark branches are also in the midst of a record month, and the credit union was featured in a recent Portland television report showcasing the current “credit union boom.”

“I believe the general public is much more aware in recent months and weeks of the need to bring their financial products and services to their local financial institution,” said Scott Burgess, Rivermark’s president and CEO.

Northwest Resource Federal Credit Union, normally closed on Saturdays, plans to open its NW Second Avenue branch from 9 a.m. to noon to help consumers make the switch. Kim Faucher, Vice President of Marketing, noted that website resources detailing the credit union difference have already been created for potential new members.

IBEW & United Workers FCU won’t change its policy of closing on weekends to allow its union member field to enjoy weekends off, but CEO Barbara Mathey confirms the credit union did advertise in labor union-related press about the credit union movement.

Portland-based Unitus Community Credit Union normally has several branches open on Saturdays, but on Nov. 5, member service representatives will be sporting edgy shirts ordered from CU Swag inviting consumers to “Join the Credit Union Revolution.” New members will be eligible for prize drawings on Nov. 5 as well.

Seattle’s Salal Credit Union, meanwhile, is stepping up to the plate with a take-no-prisoners checking account promotion.

Whether response to Bank Transfer Day is business as normal, increased marketing plans or stepped-up staffing, most credit unions are greeting new members. Eric Petracca, Vice President of Marketing for Lacamas Community Credit Union, echoed feelings expressed by many.

“I’m proud to work at a financial institution that is based on a different set of principles and glad that we are available as an alternative,” he said, but he noted as many credit union representatives have that the service, values and culture garnering so much attention today have been part of the credit union fabric for more than 70 years.


Questions or Concerns? Contact Matt Halvorson, Anthem Editor:

Posted in Events, Marketing & Communications.