Sunday Branch Hours Expand In Seattle

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The Seattle area is known for coffee, wild salmon, plentiful rain and ... credit union branches open on Sundays.

At least at Alaska USA Federal Credit Union, that is. The Anchorage, Alaska-based CU has had branches here for more than 18 years, but it made a push to offer branch availability on weekends about five years ago.

According to Phenie Miller, senior vice president of branch operations, in the last three years Alaska USA has opened nine branches in the greater Seattle area and will add a tenth in Kirkland in May. All are seven-day-a-week branches located in grocery or retail stores.

Miller said the seven-day-a-week branches have been "well received" by members, though she added she could not specifically compare transaction volumes at those locations versus Seattle's one "traditional" branch, which is open Monday through Friday, or other Alaska USA locations.

"Numbers are relative to the area, but we are getting sufficient business at the seven-day-a-week branches to think it is a benefit to our membership," she said. "The most important thing is being where the people are anyway. People go to the grocery store on Sunday, and isn't it nice for them to be able to take care of their financial services needs there and not have to make a separate trip."

The retail branches are especially useful in co-borrower situations, she continued. "Sometimes, when you are trying to get two people to get together to sign loan documents, it helps to have a location that is open on a Sunday, rather than just Monday through Friday when people are working."

The Seattle-area retail branches typically have a staff of six, and those people use a rotating schedule to determine who works on Sundays, Miller explained.

Alaska USA FCU tries to let members know of the existence of the retail branches with specialized marketing. The campaign includes pictures of vegetables on bus ads and other targeted marketing around store locations.

It also helps that the seven-day-a-week branches sell themselves, Miller said. "The retail branches are probably the most fun environment for members and staff. They are more high-energy in their look, feel and sound."

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