News & Notes: Here’s What’s Happening Around the Northwest

Gesa Credit Union Names Don Miller its President and CEO

Don Miller has been named president and CEO at Gesa Credit Union in Richland, Wash., following a nationwide search by the credit union’s board of directors. He had served as interim president and CEO since June.

“Don’s broad knowledge of the financial industry and the markets Gesa serves makes him the ideal candidate to lead Gesa into the future,” Board Chair Gregg Andrews says.

Miller began his career in Gesa’s accounting department in 1987. He also has served as the credit union’s senior vice president of finance and operations and, most recently, as its chief sales officer.

Miller is a graduate of Central Washington University and holds an MBA from Washington State University.

Gesa Credit Union operates 12 branch offices across eastern Washington, including two each in Wenatchee and Walla Walla and eight in the Tri-Cities area. The credit union serves more than 114,000 members, with assets of more than $1.3 billion.

Bill Before, STCU’s Chief Financial Officer, Now Also Its Chief Lending Officer

Bill Before, chief financial officer at STCU, is now also the credit union’s chief lending officer. In addition to overseeing the accounting, finance and compliance functions at STCU, he will now also be responsible for all consumer, commercial and real estate lending.

Before joined STCU in 1989, when the credit union had fewer than 30,000 members. STCU is now the third-largest credit union in Washington, with 118,000 members and more than $1.8 billion in total assets.

In 2009, the Credit Union Executive Society included Before on its 2009 “Rising 100” list of the next generation of credit union leaders. He is one of two Northwest representatives on the board of Catalyst Corporate Federal Credit Union, a not-for-profit financial cooperative that meets the daily liquidity needs and provides other services to more than 1,200 credit unions nationwide. Before is also a board member for Big Brothers Big Sisters of the Inland Northwest.

Before holds an MBA from Gonzaga University and a bachelor’s degree in business administration from the University of Montana. He is a graduate of the Pacific Coast Banking School, a two-year program operating in partnership with the University of Washington Graduate School of Business.

“During Bill’s nearly 25 years with STCU, he has led our finance function with skill and insight,” says Tom Johnson, STCU’s president and CEO. “He is uniformly appreciated and respected for his knowledge and his ability to work with others.”

Columbia Credit Union Names Paul Stednitz its Vice President of Branch Services

Paul Stednitz has been named vice president of branch services at Columbia Credit Union, where he will be responsible for leading the strategic development and management of the credit union’s 12 retail branches.

“Paul brings extensive credit union and banking experience,” says Bill Fulk, Columbia’s executive vice president and chief operating officer. “He has a successful track record of growing retail- and commercial-banking delivery channels, implementing sales initiatives and mentoring and training staff. We look forward to his contributions that will guide Columbia to new levels of enhanced member service and growth.”

Stednitz has more than 20 years of financial-industry experience. Before joining Columbia, he served as regional vice president and senior vice president/regional manager at various Northwest financial institutions. Most recently, he was the vice president of retail banking at a Seattle-area bank.

Stednitz holds a bachelor’s degree from California State University, Chico; a master’s degree from Golden Gate University; and is a graduate of the Pacific Coast Banking School. He has volunteered for a variety of community organizations, including Rotary International, United Way and the Boys and Girls Club.

“I look forward to strengthening the service?based culture at Columbia’s 12 branches,” Stednitz says, “and to seeing the positive results for our members.”

Columbia Credit Union, which was established in 1952, serves more than 78,900 members in Washington’s Clark County. The largest deposit holder among Clark County?based financial institutions, it boasts more than $940 million in total assets.

St. Helens Community Federal Credit Union Promotes Steve Jensen to Chief Credit Officer

Steve Jensen, director of business services at St. Helens Community Federal Credit Union, has been promoted to chief credit officer.

Jensen assumes responsibility for all aspects of the credit union’s mortgage lending programs, as well as its asset recovery department. St. Helens Community serves more than 15,000 members, with more than $173 million in assets.

“The new position is highly strategic and reflects the success and growing complexity of our loan programs,” President/CEO Brooke Van Vleet says. “Steve’s leadership and lending experience will help us manage growth in a way that benefits our members and communities.” 

Jensen brings nearly 25 years of related experience to his new role. Prior to joining St. Helens Community, he served in key leadership roles with Sterling Savings Bank and Key Bank.

“St. Helens is a close-knit community, with the opportunity to build long-lasting financial relationships that help residents and businesses prosper,” Jensen says. “Having spent much of my career in similar Oregon towns, I look forward to helping the credit union build upon its success as a trusted community partner.”

Credit Unions Make the Holidays Merry and Bright for Northwest Families, Nonprofits

Northwest credit unions have a huge impact on the communities they serve all year long, but that’s especially true during the holiday season:

PrimeSource Credit Union hopes to collect more than 1,000 pounds of food in eight weeks for the Second Harvest Food Bank of the Inland Northwest.

  • Throughout the summer, O Bee Credit Union sold custom T-shirts at events around Thurston County to benefit South Puget Sound Habitat for Humanity & Habitat Stores. The promotion raised more than $5,000 for Habitat, and representatives from O Bee were on hand to deliver the “big check” at Habitat’s Yelm store last week.
  • For the third straight year, Rogue Credit Union’s Hope for the Holidays campaign made the season merrier for southern Oregon families in need. Throughout November, community members were encouraged to nominate and vote for families who could use a helping a hand. More than 400 families were nominated, more than 14,000 votes were cast and $6,500 was raised in donations. That effort allowed Rogue to present the family who received the most votes with a check for $1,000; 11 other nominees each received $500.
  • Friday the 13th was a lucky day this month for military families at Joint Base Lewis-McChord and Camp Murray. That’s when Harborstone Credit Union’s “Operation Ham Grenade” delivered holiday hams to airmen and soldiers on behalf of the Association of the United States Army (ASUA). Harborstone also conducts Operation Turkey Drop around Thanksgiving; this year, the credit union raised $13,000 for both operations, making the holidays happier for approximately 800 enlisted families.
  • Numerica Credit Union took its philanthropy efforts — and its CEO — on the road this week, surprising Spokane-area nonprofits on Tuesday with a van-full of $5,000 donations. President/CEO Carla Altepeter delivered the checks to Children’s Village, Hearth Homes, Operation Healthy Family, Because There is Hope – Faye’s House and Wishing Star. You’ll find lots of photos on Numerica’s Facebook page.
  • PrimeSource Credit Union hopes to “Stomp Out Hunger” in the Spokane area by collecting 1,000 pounds of food before the end of the year. Staff and members can donate non-perishable food items or make cash donations at any PrimeSource branch; with two weeks to go, more than 600 pounds of food has been collected. The food drive is a benefit for Second Harvest Food Bank of the Inland Northwest.


Questions? Contact Gary Stein: 503.350.2216,

Posted in Article Post.