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

Unitus Community Credit Union and 2016 Rose Festival Court Team Up to Donate Blankets to Doernbecher Children’s Hospital

On April 5, the 2016 Portland Rose Festival Court Princesses and their Unitus Community Credit Union Mentors made a special visit to OHSU Doernbecher Children’s Hospital to make “no-sew” fleece blankets to comfort the pediatric patients receiving care at the hospital. All of the blankets included a signed note by the Mentors and Princesses who made them.

The group also received a tour of the 7th floor Credit Unions for Kids Outpatient Clinic which was completely funded by credit unions throughout Oregon and Southwest Washington under the Credit Unions for Kids brand. Credit Unions for Kids is a cooperative effort of credit unions and is the third largest fundraiser for the 170 Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals, raising more than $150 million for kids to date. Unitus employees and members participate in fundraising throughout the year including Miracle Balloon Icon campaigns, Miracle Jeans Day, and Shop for Miracles which was held on International Credit Union Day and raised $500,000 in 2015.

“This year marks the 30th anniversary of our nationally acclaimed Credit Unions for Kids program. What a special way to celebrate our incredible milestone with this group of outstanding young women,” said Laurie Kresl, VP Planning and Business Development at Unitus (and Unitus Mentor). “It was a great opportunity to share a bit of history of this iconic program with the Princesses. The movement started at Unitus Community Credit Union (formerly Oregon Telco Credit Union) in 1986 as a grassroots effort to help alleviate the financial burden of an employee whose son was prematurely born at 28 weeks and received care at Doernbecher.” 

As second year title sponsor of the Portland Rose Festival Court, Unitus pairs female executives from Unitus and fellow strong business women in the Portland area with each of the 15 Rose Festival Court Princess. Mentors regularly participate together in activities throughout the three month Court season to provide support, motivation, life skills, job coaching as well as friendship through a series of activities including community service projects and job shadow opportunities. Unitus is also sponsor of the Queen’s Coronation and the Court’s float in the Grand Floral Parade.

The effort also garnered coverage on KPTV, which is available here.

Industrial CU Shreds Over 10,000 Pounds

Bellingham, Washington-based Industrial Credit Union hosted a free shred event recently, allowing community members to securely discard of documents with personal or sensitive information. Whatcom County residents brought more than tons of paper which was shredded on-site by A-1 Shredding.  

Industrial Crecit Union provided the opportunity to help prevent fraud and identity theft. An estimated 17.6 million persons, or about 7 percent of U.S. residents age 16 or older, were victims of at least one incident of identity theft in 2014. While stealing from trash cans and intercepting mail are still popular methods for fraudsters, there is an ever-growing list of scams to be aware of, including ones that originate right here in Whatcom County. For more information on how to protect your personal information, visit

SMCU CEO Romero to Co-Chair 18th Annual LATINA Style Business Event

LATINA Style, Inc. will host the 18th Annual LATINA Style Business Series Tour on Thursday, May 26, 2016 in Seattle.The award winning program, sponsored by Nationwide, is designed for Latina entrepreneurs across the nation. Participants will have the opportunity to network, learn about business ownership, and receive educational leadership empowerment seminars created to benefit Latina professionals and entrepreneurs.

Co-chairing the Business Series is Dr. Sandra Madrid, PHD, University of Washington, and Richard Romero, President and CEO, Seattle Metropolitan Credit Union. Dr. Madrid is serving part-time as Special Assistant to the Vice President for Minority Affairs and Vice Provost for Diversity at the University of Washington. She retired from the University Of Washington School Of Law in August of 2013.

Richard Romero is the President and CEO of Seattle Metropolitan Credit Union. His introduction to banking came from his mother, who worked at a bank while he was growing up in Peru. Her understanding of how banks work greatly eased their transition when they relocated to the United States several years later.  Romero has worked at nearly every position in different financial institutions all along the West Coast—Great Western Bank, Fidelity Federal Bank, Washington Mutual, and Telesis Community Credit Union. Through hard work and unfailing commitment to service he was promoted to COO at Firefighters First Credit Union in Los Angeles and then CEO of SMCU in 2012.

Columbia Credit Union Awards Three $1,000 Scholarships to Vancouver High School Seniors

Columbia Credit Union (Vancouver, Washington) recently awarded three $1,000 college scholarships to outstanding Vancouver-area high school seniors who are also Boys & Girls Club members. Columbia Credit Union Executive VP and Chief Operating Officer Bill Fulk, who serves as president of the board of directors for Boys & Girls Clubs of SW Washington, presented the scholarships during a ceremony at the Clinton & Gloria John Clubhouse in Vancouver on April 14.  

The following students are recipients of the three Columbia Credit Union $1,000 college scholarships:

  • Kayla Sousa is a senior at the Vancouver School of Arts and Academics and has been a member of Boys & Girls Club since third grade. Sousa is the president of the Keystone leadership program at the Clinton & Gloria John Boys & Girls Club. She serves her Club, school and community in a variety of ways. She is a member of her school’s National Honor Society and is active in dance and theater. Sousa plans to attend Western Washington University to study performing arts and photography.
  • Makenzie Wilson is a senior at Vancouver iTech Preparatory and a Running Start student at Clark College. She started attending Boys & Girls Club while in kindergarten. She serves as vice president of the Keystone leadership program at the Clinton & Gloria John Boys & Girls Club and is actively involved in College Prep. After high school, Wilson plans to attend Western Washington University to study graphic art and design.
  • Alex Le, is senior at Columbia River High School and has been a member of Boys & Girls Club since second grade. He is also a Running Start student at Clark College and is on track to complete his associate’s degree by the end of the academic year. Le serves as president of the Keystone leadership program at the Teen Turf Club and volunteers as a tutor for younger Club members. He is also active in College Prep. Le plans to attend the University of Washington to study computer science and mathematics.

“We are proud of Kayla, Makenzie and Alex and their achievements. These three students have not only demonstrated outstanding academics in the classroom, but outside the classroom they have shown great leadership skills and volunteer work that supports the betterment of our community,” said Steve Kenny, president and CEO of Columbia Credit Union. “Columbia Credit Union is proud to partner with the Boys & Girls Clubs of Southwest Washington to recognize these three high school seniors who are college-bound and dedicated to getting the education and training they need to enter careers. Awarding scholarships and investing in our students’ education and future is one of the many ways we at Columbia Credit Union are making life better.”

Rogue Credit Union Honored With “Above & Beyond Award”

Rogue Credit Union was presented with the Above and Beyond Award from the Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve of Oregon (ESGR).

The Above and Beyond Award recognizes employers at the local level who have gone above and beyond the legal requirements of the Uniformed Service Employment and Reemployment Rights Act by providing Guard and Reserve employees with additional, non-mandated benefits.

Rogue Credit Union supervisors, Eric Markum and Jeff Roberson were also awarded the Patriot Award from the ESGR. This award reflects the efforts of direct supervisors to support active service members.

Rogue Credit Union was nominated for the awards by a current employee and Oregon National Guard service member. “We are honored to receive this award,” said President/CEO, Gene Pelham “We are proud of our staff that serve or have served and are truly grateful for their sacrifice and dedication to our country. We consider it a privilege to support them in times of deployment and training.”

Sean Watt, Patricia Kelly Will Help Steer STCU as Vice Presidents

STCU has two new vice presidents. Sean Watt joins the credit union as vice president for retail delivery, while longtime employee Patricia Kelly has been promoted to vice president for information technology.

Watt will oversee strategy and operations at the credit union’s 18 branches in Eastern Washington and North Idaho.

A University of Idaho graduate, he has 23 years of sales, lending and branch administration experience   with financial institutions, starting with Key Bank in the 1990s. Most recently he was senior vice president of the Idaho region for Bank of the Cascades.

Watt has a long record of community service, most recently on the executive boards of the United Way of Deschutes County (Ore.) and the Boys and Girls Club of Central Oregon.

He said he was drawn to STCU’s emphasis on people, including members and employees.

“Our branch teams will continue to focus on our promise to members: to understand their personal and business financial goals and challenges, and to help them achieve the goals,” Watt said.

A graduate of Park University, Kelly has 28 years of technical leadership experience, joining STCU in 2000 as the information systems manager. Most recently she was STCU’s director of enterprise security and data management. Before joining STCU, she helped direct information systems operations for the U.S. Air Force.

Her record of community service includes positions on the Big Brothers Big Sisters of the Inland Northwest’s board of directors and Gonzaga University’s advisory board. She’s a Meals on Wheels volunteer.

Kelly said she wants to provide innovative, intuitive technology to improve members’ experience.

“I love STCU, because we focus on making our members’ financial lives better by offering the right products and striving to save them money,” Kelly said.

Questions about this story? Contact Eric Horvath: 503.350.2222,

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