Members in the News

Make PBJs for the Homeless

Volunteers from the DE Network, YCUP and Cooperative Trust are teaming up to make sandwiches for the homeless on Saturday, March 3, at the Lucky Lab in Portland, Ore. St. Stephen’s, a local Episcopal parish that hosts Communion in the Park on Sundays, will then give the peanut butter and jelly sandwiches to the hungry on the afternoon of March 4.

The event’s organizers are seeking local food sponsors to cover the ingredients for the sandwiches and also ask volunteers to bring an extra dollar or two to help cover costs. Additional funds will be donated to Credit Unions for Kids to benefit Doernbecher Children’s Hospital. Doernbecher also has a wish list available online, so volunteers are encouraged to bring other items to donate as well.

Sandwich making will begin at 1 p.m. in the Lucky Lab’s private room at 1700 N Killingsworth St. (map), so come out, grab a brew, and start spreading the peanut butter! More information, including registration, is available online.

O Bee Returns to Roots With Olympia Beer Logo Credit Card

O Bee Credit Union has returned to its roots, announcing recently that it will begin issuing a gold Visa credit card with an image of the Olympia beer logo.

O Bee Credit Union got its start as the Olympia Brewing Company Employees and Families Credit Union, formed in February 1955 by Ted McGill, a former employee who had worked in the brewery’s bottle house. The brewery closed in 2003, and O Bee negotiated with Pabst Blue Ribbon for the use of the Olympia brand on its cards.

“We are excited,” said Lee Wojnar, vice president of O Bee. “This means the Oly brand and icon are returning to Tumwater where it originated.”

The new card offers 1 percent cash back with no limits on most purchases. For more information or to apply online, visit O Bee’s website.

Rogue Member Wins Googolplex Grand Prize Photo Contest

Googolplex Photo Contest WinnerA 16-year-old member of Rogue Federal Credit Union in Medford, Ore., is this year’s winner of the Googolplex Grand Prize photo contest.

Googolplex, a Credit Union National Association (CUNA) onlineEDGE online tool for youth, comprises three customizable sites for elementary, middle and high school students. It offers themed photo contests for the high school site, C-Note, which culminate with a $1,000 grand prize every year.

The grand prize-winning member, Chloe, submitted her photo “Welcome to Our Wetland” in the “School Daze” theme. Describing the photo, she said of her brand-new school that “what makes it amazing is it is built next to a wetland!”

“I use Googolplex to learn new money saving techniques or to read peoples’ stories on how they make money,” Chloe said. “I really appreciate Googolplex for putting on the contest. I’ve never won something this big, and it was really fun to participate in!”

Chloe submitted her photo through Rogue FCU, which offers its young members resources and advice about how best to learn about and plan their finances.

CUNA’s editors choose contest themes based on suggestions from a nationwide teenage panel of student editors. C-Note invites photo entries by publicizing the contest in subscriber emails and on the front page of C-Note. Every seven weeks the theme changes and a contestant wins $100.

Once a year, all winning photos from the past 12 months’ themes are open to a public vote. The winner receives $1,000.

Students may vote in Googolplex contests or submit their photos to different contest themes throughout the year by visiting C-Note, the high-school level of Googolplex, on their credit union’s website and clicking on the photo contest display at the top right of the page (or by visiting

To learn more about how Googolplex and other onlineEDGE tools benefit both credit unions and their members, visit

Valley Credit Union Supports MedAssist and Project Access as Co-Title Sponsor of Eighth-Annual Benefit for Medical Foundation of Marion & Polk Counties

Valley Credit Union announced that it will be the co-title sponsor along with WVP Health Authority for the eighth-annual benefit for MedAssist and Project Access programs of the Medical Foundation of Marion and Polk Counties at the Historic Elsinore Theatre on Friday, April 20, 2012. The event supports continuation and expansion of these two valuable programs in the Willamette Valley.

“These two programs are making a meaningful impact in our community, and Valley Credit Union is proud to support the ongoing missions of both MedAssist and Project Access,” said Jean Wheat-Palm, Valley’s president and CEO who also serves as vice president of the Medical Foundation board.

Launched in 2002, MedAssist is a prescription assistance program that has provided thousands of low-income residents in Marion and Polk counties access to free prescription medications worth millions of dollars. Project Access, meanwhile, provides a full spectrum of medical services at no charge to low income, uninsured residents of Marion and Polk Counties. Launched in 2009, the program has already provided free medical services valued at over $25 million to more than a thousand residents in the community.

Neither program would be possible without the dedication and commitment of local physicians, hospitals, support staffs and other medical facilities that donate their time, expertise and funds to make them possible.
This year’s event features Apolo Anton Ohno, the most decorated Winter Olympics athlete of all time, who will share the inspiring story behind his success. Tickets are available at the Elsinore Theatre box office and all TicketsWest locations. For more information or to purchase tickets, call the Elsinore Theatre box office at 503.375.3574 or visit TicketsWest online.

TwinStar Credit Union Holds Grand Opening at Downtown Portland Branch

Twin Star Branch OpeningTwinStar Credit Union held a Grand Opening event at its new downtown Portland branch on Feb. 9, 2012. The event was attended by more than 50 members, board of directors personnel, credit union friends and associates from other local credit unions and included a ribbon-cutting event with the Portland Business Alliance.

The opening of the downtown Portland branch marks the completion of the merger between Mt. Hood Federal Credit Union and TwinStar Credit Union that started in the spring of 2011. The former Mt Hood Federal branch was located two blocks from the new location, which sits at the corner of SW 6th Ave. and Clay St. adjacent to the Portland State University campus.

Alaska USA Federal Credit Union opens first branch in Thurston County

Alaska USA Federal Credit Union opened its first branch in Thurston County at Top Food & Drug in Olympia, Wash, on Jan. 6, 2012. Alaska now operates 19 branches in Washington and has more than 435,000 members worldwide.

For more information, read this article in The Olympian.

Catholic Credit Union and Yakima Valley Credit Union Complete Merger to Become Solarity

A year after the two largest Yakima-based credit unions announced plans to merge, the job has been completed.  The concept of Catholic Credit Union (CCU) and Yakima Valley Credit Union (YVCU) coming together had been in the works for several years, as both institutions shared members throughout the market.

The merger was approved by members in August 2011. Shortly thereafter, the Solarity name was launched, and management at the credit union has since been busy evaluating the products and services offered by both institutions to create the best product and servicing offers for the future.
With the completion of the merger, Solarity’s 45,000-plus members now have access to eight branch locations from the Kittitas Valley to the Lower Yakima Valley, state-of-the-art online banking, and highly competitive mortgage and vehicle loan rates.

Valley Credit Union joins social media sites Facebook and Twitter

Valley Credit Union has now joined the social media sites Facebook and Twitter. These channels will serve as additional outlets for news and events at Valley, including community outreach, charitable support and much more.

Jean Wheat-Palm, president and CEO of Valley Credit Union, heralded the jump to social media.

“There’s no doubt that more and more, our members are utilizing Facebook and Twitter to interact with their peers, friends and families,” she said. “Our strongest advocates have always been our members, and these two channels provide a new way for us to engage current and prospective members regarding the great things we are doing in the community.”

In addition, Valley will spotlight and support efforts of local business and community partners.

“We always strive to have strong, reciprocal relationships with our friends in local businesses and non-profit organizations,” said Steve Pagenstecher, Valley’s vice president of member relations. “Social media gives us another tool to help highlight their efforts and our support, in addition to our own causes. It’s a win-win for all involved.”

Valley Credit Union can be found on Facebook at and on Twitter (@Valley_CU) at

Numerica Boosts Business Services Department with Two New Hires

Numerica Curt FullerNumerica Nichole Dahl RyanNumerica Credit Union is ramping up the staff in its business services department in order to offer more products and services that will better serve their business members.

Nichole Dahl Ryan was recently hired as the cash management sales manager. She had worked in the banking industry for more than 12 years, most recently serving as the treasury management consultant at AmericanWest Bank.

Curt Fuller was also recently hired as a business services relationship officer. Fuller had worked in the banking industry for 26 years, spending the first 21 years with large, national financial institutions in various lending and managerial positions. He most recently was employed by Banner Bank as a vice president and relationship manager at the Spokane Commercial Loan Center.

OnPoint Spelling Bee Benefits Schoolhouse Supplies

Onpoint Schoolhouse Supplies
Photo by Joni Shimabukuro

The Portland Art Museum was the scene of OnPoint Community Credit Union’s celebrity spelling bee, presented by Comcast, on Feb. 3, 2012. The crowd of 380 raised $290,000 for Schoolhouse Supplies, a local nonprofit that provides free school supplies to students and teachers in need.

The winner of the celebrity spelling bee was Portland-based actor Pat Janowski, who also won the 2010 contest.

Solarity Credit Union Offers Five Scholarships for the 2012-2013 School Year

Solarity Credit Union has five scholarships available for the 2012-2013 school year. Each scholarship award is $2,000, and the deadline to apply is Friday, Feb. 24.

Applicants will be scored on the following criteria: academic record, applicant essay (“Why budgeting is important no matter how much money you make,”) and a personal statement. Finalists will also participate in an in-person interview.

To be eligible, candidates must be a member in good standing of Solarity Credit Union; a U.S. citizen or a legal citizen of the U.S.; enrolled, or will be enrolled, in an accredited college, university or trade school; have a minimum GPA of 2.0; and be attending college during the 2012-2013 school year.

Applications are available at any of Solarity’s five branch locations or by typing “scholarship” into the search box on the credit union’s website.

Unitus Community Credit Union Celebrates 75 years with 75th-themed Random Acts of Kindness

Unitus Community Credit Union will celebrate its 75th anniversary this year and is ramping up its ‘Random Acts of Kindness’ initiative by supporting partner schools and community partners in carrying out a 75th-themed campaign. Dating back to 2007, Unitus has been surprising area residents with random acts of kindness. These spontaneous acts of giving, performed on a monthly basis, showcase the credit union difference and enhance the Unitus brand—all while giving back to the community.

This acts include donating 75 hand-held calculators to the students at West Tualatin View Elementary School math lab program and assembling 75 care packages on-site at Doernbecher Children’s Hospital for parents staying overnight or long-term while their child is being treated.

Unitus selected Share as the first recipient of its “2012 Random Acts of Kindness” campaign and delivered 75 warm packs filled with gloves, hats, wool socks, hand warmers, lip balm, granola bars and other much-needed items. The packs were then given to homeless men and women in exchange for their participation in the 2012 Annual Clark County Point in Time (PIT) Count Survey, which helps assess effectiveness of strategies to reduce homelessness in the Metro Vancouver, Wash., area.

In February, Unitus will promote literacy by partnering with the West Metro SMART program to provide books to the 23 students the program serves at William Walker Elementary School in Beaverton, Ore.

Valley Credit Union and Green Acres Landscape successfully complete Diaper Drive to benefit Family Building Blocks

Valley CU Diaper DriveThroughout December, Valley Credit Union collected diapers, cleaning supplies and hygiene products in conjunction with Green Acres Landscape to support Family Building Blocks. Thanks to the generosity of staff, members, the credit union, business partners and the local community, Valley Credit Union and Green Acres presented Family Building Blocks with more than 3,200 diapers and other needed supplies.

“A healthy community is built on safe, financially-sound environments that foster caring and supportive families,” said Jean Wheat-Palm, president and CEO of Valley Credit Union. “Family Building Blocks is dedicated to building a better community for all here in the Willamette Valley. We’re proud to support their efforts.”

“Business and community partnerships like those we share with Valley Credit Union and Green Acres provide critical funds and supplies when they are needed most,” said Julie Hilty, community outreach coordinator for Family Building Blocks. “A big ‘thank you’ to them and to all of our local partner organizations.”

Family Building Blocks is a nonprofit organization that works to break the intergenerational cycle of child abuse and neglect by providing services for high-risk families that have children six weeks to five years old. Through its two facilities, Family Building Blocks goes through more than 42,000 diapers a year assisting local families.


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