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Suncoast Schools reports surge in new members
TAMPA, Fla. (11/2/11)--To meet the increased demand of unhappy bank customers seeking to switch their accounts, Suncoast Schools FCU has created a specially designated Switch Team in its contact center.

The credit union opened 5535 checking accounts in October, compared with 2876 checking accounts opened in October 2010, an increase of 92%, according to Patti Barrow, Suncoast Schools FCU vice president of marketing.

Depending on call volume, the Switch Team comprises between eight and 13 member service representatives ready to help prospective members through the process of opening new accounts, she told News Now.

Although all of the call center's representatives are trained to open accounts, Switch Team members are in place to assist members with more detailed information.

"We find that when it comes to switching from one financial institution to another, there really is no one size fits all," Barrow said. "Every situation is unique, and everybody has different questions. Our switch team is there to help people through the process based on their individual needs."

Callers don't expect the switching process to take place overnight, Barrow said.

Most callers don't want to open an account online, or even through the contact center," she added. "That might be where they start the process, but most people want to sit down face to face with someone."

That is among the reasons that Suncoast Schools FCU is not approaching Saturday's Bank Transfer Day as a one-day event, Barrow said. The credit union is working to attract new business, though. It is offering members who open a new account through a Saturday chance to win one of 15 iPads.

Barrow also said the credit union will bulk up staffing on Saturday to prepare for the expected surge.

"We are gearing up to make sure we're ready to do whatever it takes to serve all of our members that day," Barrow said. "But for us, this is about creating growth over the long term."

CUNA, the leagues, and credit unions have worked extensively with national media to point out the benefits of credit unions as an alternative to high bank fees.


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