Puget Sound’s Island Branch Excels
The credit union that launched a branch on Vashon Island, an island in the middle of Puget Sound off the coast of Washington State, said its new branch is a success.
The 6,000 member, $59 million Puget Sound Cooperative Credit Union, headquartered in Bellvue, Wash., answered the call of a group of Vashon Island residents and business owners who wanted a credit union to enable to them to better invest in their own community. The group, Capital United Vashon, had explored starting a CU but concluded inviting an existing CU to start a branch would be the best approach.
Puget Sound Cooperative reported that since opening the branch on Vashon Island in March 2011, the CU has opened 857 new member accounts, taken in more than $7.5 million in deposits and made almost $1.2 million in loans. The CU reported this additional activity has already had an impact.
“Due in part to the large influx of deposits from the Vashon branch the board approved lowering the rate on our mortgage loans by 0.25% on 15-year loans and by 0.125% on 30- year mortgages,” said PSCCU Vice President of Marketing and Business Development Shannon Ellis-Brock. “This is a good example of how money from the community is helping the community.”
The CU reported new island members have also reacted well.
“Establishing PSCCU on Vashon is a strong community statement recognizing we islanders do have a choice beyond the standard big banks,” said island resident and new PSCCU member Amy Gilman. “I resented falling through the cracks as a customer when WAMU became Chase. They closed my children’s longtime accounts, took money out of my CD and the sloppiness of the changing of the guard meant watching my statement every month for new fees. I imagine PSCCU will treat me better.”
“I feel like we've literally put our money where our mouth is,” added fellow islander and new PSCCU member Jeff Hoyt. “We've been vocal in decrying how our country has gotten into the mess it's in, and yet, we contribute to the problem by leaving our money in these huge institutions that are clearly a part of the problem. To not take some kind of action seems rather hypocritical to me, so it feels great to take a significant sum out of BofA and walk it across the street,” he said.