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Early reports show Bank Transfer Day success
MADISON, Wis. (11/8/11)--For many credit unions, Saturday's Bank Transfer Day was a huge deal. Although many had seen an influx of new members throughout October after the mega-banks announced their now-rescinded debit card fees, many made record single-day strides in new accounts opened Saturday. Some reported more than 600 new members.

More definitive numbers will be available early this week, according to the Credit Union National Association. Meanwhile individual credit unions were reporting significant spikes in new accounts.

BECU, Seattle, was still counting the new accounts Monday morning but told the Credit Union National Association (CUNA) that 659 people opened accounts Saturday in just one branch.  The credit union has 45 branches. The new accounts broke all the credit union's records for opening new accounts on a single day.

Redwood CU (RU), Santa Rosa, Calif., opened more than 600 new acc
Click to view larger image Lourdes Cortez, CEO for North Jersey FCU, Totowa, N.J., talks to Hector Garcia, a brand new member who heard about Bank Transfer Day from an existing member and opened a checking account Saturday during the credit union's open house. In 2011, the credit union has attracted 4,000 new members. (Photo provided by North Jersey FCU)
ounts Friday and Saturday as a result of Bank Transfer Day and noted that is six times the normal number of new accounts.  It said its October new accounts are an 83% increase over its October 2010 growth.

"While we're thrilled to be welcoming so many new people to RCU, the real winner is the consumer or business owner who will see immediate savings and better service by making the smart decision to switch to a credit union," said Brett Martinez, president/CEO of RCU.

Others reporting new members on Bank Transfer Day:

  • Bay FCU, Calif., opened 100 new checking accounts Saturday--a third of its monthly average.
  • Pennsylvania State Employees CU opened 153 new accounts, a 50% increase on its average daily total of about 100. New accounts in October represented a 50% increase on its monthly new member total. It has introduced a two month campaign to attract more members.
  • Randolph-Brooks FCU branch in Plugerville, Texas, opened "dozens of accounts," it told The Wall Street Journal (Nov. 7).
  • San Jose CU, Calif., opened 30 memberships Saturday--half what it usually opens during a normal month.
  • Portland, Ore.-based Northwest Resource FCU noted that 200 people marched from downtown branch of JPMorgan Chase to the credit union, where 17 people opened new accounts Saturday (Oregon Live Nov. 5).
  • Rivermark Community CU, Salem, Ore., which is usually not open on Saturday, opened five new accounts at one branch, and its Hawthorne branch in Portland opened 30 accounts, with lines snaking out the door. It was an "extremely busy day," the credit union told the Statesman Journal Nov. 5).
  • Salem, Ore.-based MaPS CU reported new accounts for October were up 73% from October 2010. Since then, 64 more accounts were opened, reported the Statesman Journal.
  • First Capital FCU, Pa., opened four new accounts.
  • Schools Financial CU, Sacramento, Calif., noted that Saturday was its biggest membership day of the year, following a record October--1,064 members for the month. It did not specify the actual number of accounts opened on Saturday.
  • Educators CU, Wisconsin, which generally aims for a 5% annual increase in membership, reported a 25% increase since October 2010 in new members.
  • Landmark CU, Wisconsin, gained 945 members in October, 733 of whom opened checking accounts--"much higher than normal."
  • Affinity Plus FCU got more than 2,000 members over October--typically averages 1,000 a month. Of those new members, about 75% opened a new checking account.
  • Lower East Side People's FCU, a community development credit union in New York, had a steady stream of people opening accounts Saturday, according to NBC Nightly News.  One woman, who owns a pet grooming shop nearby, transferred all her business accounts from Chase to the credit union, saying she was going local because she was tired of bank fees and  "these are my neighbors. They walk by my shop every day." said it was business as usual Saturday, but it had added a couple of hundred accounts the past three weeks.
  • Cooperative FCU, Berkeley, Calif., opened new accounts for 38 people.  In October, the credit union totaled 316 new accounts, compared with 106 in the same month last year.
  • NuMark CU, Joliet, Ill., opened 26 checking accounts in four hours Saturday. That is 25% of its typical monthly goal. Normally Saturday brings in two new accounts at a branch.
  • Michigan Schools and Government CU, Clinton Township, Mich., received 20 new members Saturday, compared to its one or two.
  • Asheville, N.C.-based Mountain CU noted it added 17 members and 14 accounts in four houses, despite fog in the area Saturday morning.

Several credit unions mentioned that in addition to new accounts, some new members were applying for loans.
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