What Sound Credit Union acquisition means for customers

By Makenna Dreher | May 24, 2019
Photo by: Makenna Dreher Sound Credit Union is on the southwest corner of Fifth Avenue South and Dayton Street in Edmonds.

In September, Sound Credit Union acquired The Bank of Washington, a homegrown financial institution that began as The Bank of Edmonds. The final transition of The Bank of Washington accounts to the Sound Credit Union system will take place in July.

Sound’s acquisition of The Bank of Washington made it the first credit union in Washington state, and 23rd in the nation, to acquire a bank.

The Bank of Washington, founded in 1996 as The Bank of Edmonds, grew to a multibranch organization until March 2019, when Sound Credit Union acquired The Bank of Washington.

As previously reported by the Beacon, the $30 million all-cash transaction was structured with Sound Credit Union, which purchased most of the assets and liabilities of The Bank of Washington and Washington Bancorp, Inc., the holding company for The Bank of Washington.

The Bank of Edmonds was founded by a group of Edmonds residents including the late John Beck, a former state representative who died in 1997. He was the son of Stephen Beck, who founded Beck’s Funeral Home, along with his wife Martha Lou Beck, in 1952 on Fifth Avenue South.

Gary Schmitt, The Bank of Edmonds’ first CEO, said the Bank of Washington acquisition is a good deal for shareholders and staff.

“Bank of Edmonds started when there was a turmoil in the banking industry,” Schmitt said last September. “Wells Fargo was taking over 1st Interstate in a hostile takeover. There were many acquisitions. John told me that Edmonds deserved better, and wanted to make sure Edmonds had local representation in the banking industry. We also had a great location, great staff and great customers.”

Sound’s acquisition was finalized March 22, making The Bank of Washington clients Sound Credit Union members.

“The acquisition has been completed,” said Jennifer Reed, vice president of public relations for Sound Credit Union. “The Bank of Washington accounts will continue to be serviced at the same branch locations, website and systems until the integration is complete in July.”

Currently, existing Sound Credit Union members have limited service available at the Edmonds, Everett, and Mukilteo branches. Once the integration is complete, Sound members will have access to their account(s) at all Sound branch locations, including Lynnwood and Redmond, Reed said.

Based in Tacoma, Sound Credit Union, with The Bank of Washington addition, now has 29 locations in the Puget Sound region with over 120,000 members and $1.5 billion in assets, Reed said.

“There’s not a change for existing members with their accounts,” said Reed. “While banks are for-profit and owned by shareholders, credit unions are nonprofit and member owned.”

While banks are for-profit and owned by shareholders, credit unions are nonprofit and owned by customers, Reed explained.

“Profits go back to members by offering competitive rates on loans, fewer fees and dividends on checking and savings accounts,” said Reed. “Members have the opportunity to vote on our board members. We value our members’ opinions – they have a voice at Sound.”



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