Members in the News – Dec 28 2011

STCU opens region’s most sustainable branch
The Spokane Valley’s first 240-volt charging station for electric cars opens to the public when STCU starts serving members at its new South Valley Branch location on Monday, December 11.

That level II charging station, paired with two parking spaces reserved for electric cars or chargeable hybrids, is just one of the earth-friendly features designed into the branch at 13211 E. 32nd. Others include:

  • Solar panels that at times will generate a surplus of power.
  • A rooftop and parking lot that reflects heat, rather than absorbing it.
  • Building materials that were mostly mined or produced within 500 miles of the construction site.
  • A shower for employees who walk or pedal to work. (The branch also is located on a bus route.)
  • Lights and a heating system that are highly energy efficient.
  • A no-smoking policy that includes the parking lot.

“We set out with a goal to make this the most environmentally sustainable full-service branch operated by any financial institution in the region,” said Patsy Gayda, STCU Vice President of Branches. “Our members expect us to be good stewards of resources.”   

Nystrom + Olson Architecture designed the 3,496-square-foot branch to meet U.S. Green Building Council standards for LEED Gold certification for sustainable building and development practices.

“Designing to LEED Gold certification has numerous advantages,” including nearly 50 percent energy savings over conventional buildings of similar size, said Evan Verduin, a LEED Accredited Professional and project manager for Nystrom + Olson.

“The high-performance mechanical systems, photovoltaic panels and energy efficient envelope contribute to a substantial reduction in energy use, increased environmental stewardship and increased employee comfort,” Verduin said.

During construction, 78 percent of waste materials were either reused or recycled, said Barry Baker, owner of Baker Construction & Development, one of the region’s oldest and best-known contractors.

“This is the most innovative green building we have been involved with and we applaud the design team and STCU for their stewardship of the environment,” Baker said.

BECU Makes Major Gift to Fund ‘Biz Kid$’
Three credit unions have collectively donated $1 million to help nationally underwrite “Biz Kid$.” These unprecedented large donations were made by BECU in Tukwila, Wash., State Employees’ Credit Union (SECU) in Raleigh, N.C., and SchoolsFirst Federal Credit Union in Santa Ana, Calif. “Biz Kid$” is the Emmy Award winning and credit union funded public television series that teaches kids about money management and entrepreneurship.

The National Credit Union Foundation (NCUF) oversees fundraising, outreach and administrative responsibilities of “Biz Kid$” and is currently fundraising to achieve full funding for the fifth season, which will also put “Biz Kid$” into syndication. 

“‘Biz Kid$’ is a natural fit for credit unions and BECU to get behind,” said Gary Oakland, President/CEO of BECU and NCUF Chairman. “Financial education, and particularly youth financial literacy, is critically important to our movement and society at large. Thanks to ‘Biz Kid$’ unique style of ‘edutainment,’ kids of all ages are learning about money, credit, taxes, business, and becoming young entrepreneurs. ”

“We’ve seen great success with the show and accompanying curriculum throughout middle schools in North Carolina so it’s an easy decision to continually support “Biz Kid$”,” noted Mark Twisdale, Executive Director of the State Employees’ Credit Union Foundation. “Many of our staff are trained on the show curriculum and we also work with the N.C. Department of Public Instruction to train teachers on the program. We are looking forward to helping reach even more youth through both outreach and financial support.”

“‘Biz Kid$’ has had a tremendous impact in advancing financial literacy, not only within the educational community, but in households across the world,” said Rudy Hanley, President/CEO of SchoolsFirst Federal Credit Union.  “At SchoolsFirst Federal Credit Union we are honored to support a program that educates, inspires and motivates the next generation of credit union members.”

Lacamas Community Credit Union Donates Holiday Dinner Baskets for Local Families
For the fourth consecutive year, Lacamas Community Credit Union donated 20 festive Holiday Dinner Baskets to its members as part of its Community Partnership program. The program allows members to nominate fellow members—or themselves—to receive a festive holiday basket with groceries and a gift card to ensure that they’ll have a nice holiday dinner. 

Lacamas President/CEO Kathleen Romane started the dinner basket program in 2008 in response to the recession. “We know that some of our members could use a helping hand to make the holiday season more enjoyable.  Providing the means for a family to share a holiday meal allows Lacamas to demonstrate its care for our members’ well-being,” she said.

The credit union raises funds for its Community Partnerships—local organizations that benefit from Lacamas’ philanthropy—through fundraising efforts throughout the year.

Clackamas Federal Credit Union to Open New Branch in West Linn
Clackamas Federal Credit Union
(CFCU) has announced plans to open a branch in a West Linn Safeway grocery store.

The latest branch, at 22000 Salamo Rd., is scheduled to open on April 6, 2012. The Milwaukie-based credit union has other branches in Canby, Milwaukie, Molalla, Oregon City and Sandy.

CFCU originated in the late 1950s and was headquartered in West Linn City Hall. The new West Linn branch will put the credit union a couple hundred feet from City Hall, which is also located on Salamo Road.

Oregon Community Credit Union Celebrates a Year of Service
Oregon Community Credit Union wraps up the 2011 year after serving its community in a big way. Employees put their hearts first as they joined together sponsoring, participating and volunteering at local branch and community events throughout the year, totaling more than 1600 hours of community service.

Through Oregon Community Credit Union’s motto, Nice. Remarkably Nice., the not-for-profit organization promises to invest in and volunteer to improve the communities it serves. With a strong Community Outreach for Employees Program, Oregon Community Credit Union supports and encourages employees to volunteer with nonprofit organizations or schools of their choice. This year, employees organized events to raise funds for local chapters of charities such as the American Cancer Society, United Way, Children’s Miracle Network and the American Red Cross. Overall, Oregon Community Credit Union awarded $237,325 in scholarships and spent $176,500 in donations and sponsorships for a total of $413,825 in 2011.

Giving more than $315,000 to nonprofits, Oregon Community Credit Union topped the list in its category for the Portland Business Journal’s 2011 Corporate Philanthropy Awards, recognizing the Credit Union as the most generous small-sized company in Oregon for the third straight year. Oregon Community Credit Union also received the Dora Maxwell Social Responsibility Community Service Award through the Northwest Credit Union Association for volunteer work during its first annual Volunteer Day. Branches and corporate offices were closed for President’s Day, while the company’s 230 employees spent the afternoon completing community service projects at nine different nonprofit organizations, donating more than 600 volunteer hours. “We just proved that you can do amazing things when you are a high performing team that has great expectations and believes in what you do. Being able to become a united group and devote an afternoon to help change people’s lives made a difference in our lives too,” said Oregon Community Credit Union CEO Mandy Jones.

Oregon Community Credit Union Names New Director of Lending Services
Chris Whittaker has been named Director of Lending Services for Oregon Community Credit Union.  Chris has been with the Credit Union five years. Prior to his current position, he was the credit union’s Process Improvement/Product Development Manager.  He will continue to oversee Process Improvement and Product Development in addition to his new duties as Director of Lending Services.

Columbia Credit Union Hires New Home Loan Officer
Paula Siverly has been hired by Columbia Credit Union as a home loan officer. Siverly has more than 20 years of financial industry experience, most recently as a loan consultant for a local mortgage company. She has also worked as assistant branch manager and call center supervisor for local credit unions.

Credit Union Official Named to State Board
Gov. John Kitzhaber has appointed Rosemary Pryor as chairwoman of the Oregon Workforce Investment Board.

Pryor is chief marketing and strategy officer for Oregon Community Credit Union, based in Eugene. She succeeds David Williams of Northwest Natural to lead the board, which advises the governor on the effectiveness and coordination of Oregon’s public work force development programs.

Breitenberg Named STCU Facilities Manager
breitenbergRichard L. Breitenberg has been named facilities manager for STCU. Breitenberg has 20 years experience in residential and commercial construction, most recently was project manager/superintendent for Contractors Northwest, Inc., where his projects included the expansion and remodeling of STCU headquarters in Liberty Lake. He owned and operated his own firm, Breitenberg Construction, from 1993 through 2002.

Breitenberg is a LEED Green Associate, meaning he has met the requirements to be certified by the U.S. Green Building Council. Prior to his civilian career, Breitenberg served 10 years in the U.S. Army.

Breitenberg replaces Jack Cady, who retired in December after 14 years as STCU’s first-ever facilities manager. During Cady’s tenure, the credit union expanded from five branches to 15.

Employees Vote to Send STCU Donations to Three Local Non-Profits
Three times in the past year, STCU has asked community members, “Who do you love?” Their votes sent credit union donations to seven organizations that help make the Inland Northwest a great place to live.

Now, with 2011 drawing to a close, we put the question to our employees: “Who do YOU love?” We asked them to select recipients for end-of-year contributions in our three areas of giving: education; arts and culture; and community.

Four hundred sixty-six employees nominated more than 80 organizations. The Museum of Arts and Culture, the Spokane Humane Society, and the Eastern Washington University Foundation received the most votes and were surprised with $1,500 checks delivered by STCU employees.

Valley Credit Union donates hundreds of pounds of pet food to Willamette Humane Society
Valley Credit Union delivered hundreds of pounds of cat and dog good to the Willamette Humane Society’s Pet Food Bank. The food, purchased through a staff charitable giving fund and donated by members, will help families keep pets fed and safe in their homes this winter.

valleycu“The tenacity of our staff and members never ceases to amaze me. Their efforts will ensure families can properly feed their pets during this tough economy, keeping them in their homes and out of shelters,” said Jean Wheat-Palm, President and CEO of Valley Credit Union.

WHS’s Pet Food Bank is designed to help keep pets in homes by offering temporary, limited food assistance to area dog and cat owners experiencing financial hardship.

Last year, they distributed more than 14,000 pounds of food.

In addition to donations brought in by members, Valley’s staff used monies from a charitable payroll deduction fund to purchase additional cat and dog food. The fund is supported by money allocated from employees’ paychecks voluntarily each month to support charitable causes throughout the year.


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