FEDERAL WAY, Wash. (11/10/09)--A Seattle woman who became the 75,000 new credit union member in Washington state this year was awarded more than $2,300 in prizes when she joined Seattle Metropolitan CU. Kristin Henkus, who joined the credit union July 24 at its Northgate branch, was the honoree in conjunction with the Washington Credit Union League's 75th anniversary. Prizes included items representing more than 30 donating credit unions' original charter or location. For example, it included an antique telephone from a former telephone company employee credit union, a model train set from a former railway employee credit union, and bottles of Washington wine. One credit union gave a $100 gift certificate to a popular online shoe store because that it started in a shoebox. Henkus said that being a credit union member is a much more pleasant experience that being the customer of a big bank. Using the credit union "is really convenient because you can use everyone's ATMs; you don't get charged," she said. "It's a nicer community feeling." During a taped address on Nov. 3, league President/CEO John Annaloro said that the landmark 75,000th member could only have been achieved with the cooperation and good work of many credit unions. "Like many new credit union members this year, Kristin Henkus was dissatisfied with the new management of her bank," said Annaloro. "I'm sure this is only the beginning of a long relationship." Henkus, a small business owner, was pushed away from her bank after being charged hundreds of dollars in fees, said Seattle Metropolitan CU President/CEO Bob Harvey. "She, like many other Washingtonians, said 'enough is enough.'" he said, adding, "She decided she needed to make a move, and her move was to a credit union." Henkus was one of 15 new members to join Seattle Metropolitan on July 24. She was chosen randomly from among them, just as Seattle Metropolitan was randomly chosen from among the 30 participating credit unions. Washington credit unions, like those in other states, have experienced record new membership growth the past 12 months as Americans migrate to more stable financial institutions, the league said. As a result, some have increased earlier estimates of Washington credit unions' growth for 2009. New estimates range between 95,000 and 120,000 new members for the year. For more information, use the links to a YouTube video of Annaloro's taped message and footage of Henkus, and to prize information.