Bank Transfer Day apparently was a big hit in Seattle.
“We had a record Saturday with 659 account openings and that tops a normal 450,” said Todd Pietzsch, public relations manager for the $9.6 billion BECU, Washington state’s largest credit union.
Occupy Seattle marchers were filmed by TV news cameras as they stopped in at BECU’s downtown branch to open new accounts.
“We did let a pre-arranged group come in our doors,” said Pietzsch in describing an orderly event. The Occupy group knew in advance that the BECU facility was keeping normal hours and would close at 1 p.m., he said.
Meanwhile, staffers from other Seattle CUs and a representative of the Northwest Credit Union Association were stationed at Westlake Park, the Occupy demonstration site, to field questions from the media and provide CU information to interested Occupy marchers.
The estimated 75-100 marchers, who were given CUNA’s “asmarterchoice.com” literature, ended up walking about two miles from the park to a BECU branch as well as a branch of Seattle Metropolitan CU.
“I know that in some cities the Occupy group can have a hooligan-type reputation but that has not been the case in Seattle,” said Dave Bennett, spokesman for the Northwest Credit Union Association. He described the marchers as “students, some middle class individuals and some unemployed.”
The CU employees did not participate in the march but stayed at the park site, the spokesman said.
Pietzsch at 720,000-member BECU said the Saturday activity capped “an outstanding October” and a steady pace of monthly new business. August saw 8,700 new accounts, September had 9,400 and October a sharp increase to 16,000, he said.