Months before Occupy Wall Street grabbed the headlines, a group of activists on Vashon Island was agitating for people to transfer their deposits from big banks to credit unions.
Problem was, Vashon Island didn’t have a credit union. JPMorgan Chase, Bank of America and U.S. Bank were the only options on the island of about 10,000 residents.
Puget Sound Cooperative Credit Union, a small Bellevue institution with branches in Tacoma and Renton, recognized the opportunity.
It opened a Vashon branch in March and took in deposits of more than $5 million by June 30, the credit union said. Meanwhile, according to federal data, deposits at the big banks’ branches on Vashon as of June 30 collectively shrank about $3.3 million from a year earlier.
“We’ve seen a strong demand from those folks out there,” said Kevin Ellisen, CEO of Puget Sound Cooperative. “They don’t like the big banks very much.”