LIBERTY LAKE, Wash.–The $1.6-billion Spokane Teachers Credit Union has seen its membership hit 110,000 in recent weeks after starting 2012 with 100,000. The previous two years its membership number rose by 7,000 each year.

“We are seeing good, consistent growth that has been steady over the long haul,” said VP-branches Patsy Gayda.

Gayda said STCU has taken several steps to ensure the new members are active.

“We have dedicated personnel giving callbacks, which includes a warm welcome to the credit union and asking what products or services they need,” she said. “We follow up with a letter.”

STCU works with marketing company iMatrix to send four or five postcards within the first six months of new membership. Gayda said the postcards build on the services the new members already have.

“It has been very successful,” she declared. “Our members really do love us and are happy to hear from us. Lending is up 6% in 2012 versus 2011, and of the new accounts, 69% are opening checking accounts with us. A checking account transfer typically takes about 90 days.”

Many new STCU members point to fees as the reason why they switched, but Gayda said a sizeable number express frustration at not being able to speak with a local person when they call a large bank.

“Then, after they come over, they are pleased to find out our rates are better,” she said. “We have a good reputation in the community and people hear good things about us, so when they get a fee from their bank they look at us.”

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