TACOMA, Wash.-Add Sound Credit Union to the list of CUs that are benefitting from the fallout raining down on banks.

Chris Shenkel, VP of operations for the credit union, which recently grew to $1.1 billion in assets thanks to its merger with Watermark CU, said consumers are finding a reason to switch.

"Right now there are not many obstacles," she said. "Bank customers are coming in our doors due to debit card fees. We offer free checking with a $100 new account bonus if they have a reoccurring deposit of $250 within 60 days."

Sound CU has a switch kit on its website, and it has brochures in its branches. Shenkel said the credit union developed its own system "some time ago." It tells people how to collect information on direct deposit, automatic payments, Social Security, and then invites them to visit a Sound branch. New members are told about all of Sound's products either by a member service representative or via a list on the switch kit web page.

While the credit union offers assistance on closing old accounts, Shenkel said most people like to do that step themselves.

About the only holdup is online bill pay. Sound CU representatives explain how the process works, but people have to set up their payees in the bill-payer program themselves.

"This probably is the largest obstacle because there is work involved on the member's part," she said. "We do our best to walk them through it and show how easy it is. Usually the people who have had bill pay before don't have a problem with it; it is the people who have never had it before that need help."

October has been a "very busy month," for new members. Although Shenkel said she did not yet have exact numbers, "Our branches report people are coming in one after another."

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