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

STCU Surprises Teachers with Back-to-School Grants

As a not-for-profit organization founded by educators, STCU honored its roots by awarding four $500 classroom grants this fall to local certified teachers whose names were selected at random from nearly 2,000 entries.

“Teachers are a dedicated bunch, spending an average of $400 of their own money on classroom supplies each year,” said Tom Johnson, STCU president and CEO, whose wife is a retired middle school English teacher. “STCU is pleased to be able to help a few of them with a little extra cash to use for something special that will enhance the classroom experience. It’s one of the ways we honor our roots as an organization founded by teachers.”

The winners were notified during surprise announcements at their schools last week. They are:

  • Bryan Smidt, English teacher at Coeur d’Alene High School;
  • Jill Leary, third grade teacher at Garfield Elementary School in Spokane;
  • Nanette Brothers, mathematics teacher at Sandpoint High School; and
  • Kelli Aiken, counselor at Lakes Middle School in Coeur d’Alene.

Pacific Crest Federal Credit Union Welcomes New VP of Lending

Pacific Crest Federal Credit Union announced the selection of George Hall as vice president of lending last week. Hall brings 38 years of experience in the financial industry including branch management, commercial real estate loans, construction loans, residential real estate loans, loan origination, ownership of a loan business, and brokerage of residential real estate loans. In addition to Hall’s extensive experience in credit unions in the West and Northwest regions, he served as SVP, chief lending officer for Klamath First Federal in Klamath Falls from 1989 to 1998.

Hall graduated from Central Washington University with a Bachelor of Arts degree and served in the U.S. Air Force. He and his wife Patti are happy to be back in Klamath Falls and look forward to reacquainting themselves with the community.

Columbia Credit Union Welcomes New VP of Business Lending

Columbia Credit Union announced Tracie Jellison will take the role of vice president of business lending for the Vancouver, Washington credit union. Jellison has 25 years of sales and financial relationship management experience and joins a team of six credit union business lending veterans.

“Tracie’s strong sales background and dedication to service make her an ideal addition to our team,” said Columbia Credit Union Business Lending Department Vice President Ron Bertolucci. “Members will benefit from her experience and expertise.”

Prior to joining Columbia Credit Union, Jellison served as a private banker for a regional financial institution where she served a portfolio of high net worth individuals, firms and nonprofit organizations. Other previous roles include sales and service trainer, relationship manager and branch manager, where she earned Top Branch Manager and Top Sales Team recognitions and performed in the top five percent of sales and service expectations.

STCU Announces Veteran Board Member Retirement

Georgia Miller, who has served on the STCU board since 1979 including nine years as its chair, retired at the end of September, the credit union announced. Miller has seen STCU grow from $20 million to $1.9 billion in assets, the third largest in Washington and among the top 100 in the nation.

STCU had just 9,400 members when Miller joined the board 35 years ago. Today, it has more than 130,000. The credit union has grown from one branch location to 17, with another under construction.

“We didn’t have debit cards or credit cards,” Miller said. ATMs, online banking, and the STCU mobile app also happened under her watch.

“Without Georgia, STCU would be a different place,” says Tom Johnson, STCU President and CEO. “She helped set us on the path to becoming the most popular credit union in the region, and one of the most successful in the nation.”

Questions about this story? Contact James Pearson: 206.340.4790,

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