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

Qualstar Credit Union, Puget Sound Federal Credit Union Announce Merger

Members of Puget Sound Federal Credit Union (PSFCU) approved a merger with Qualstar Credit Union recently. PSFCU, with $16 million in assets and 2,000 members, will merge with Qualstar Credit Union, a $422 million credit union with 58,000 members.

“We are pleased with the benefits the PSFCU members will enjoy with Qualstar,” said PSFCU CEO Dat Nguyen. “We wanted to ensure the merger partner we selected would provide our members with greater convenience, a more expansive menu of financial services, competitive rates and fees, and long-term financial stability.”

Qualstar is headquartered in Redmond, Washington, with six branch locations across the Puget Sound region. As a financial cooperative, Qualstar is dedicated to sharing their success with the credit union’s member-owners. As a result, they have returned more than $8 million in Loyalty Bonus dividends to members over the past four years while remaining one of the most financially-sound credit unions in the region.

PSFCU members voted overwhelmingly in favor of the merger. Qualstar will retain the five PSFCU staff members and will plan to keep the downtown Seattle branch location open following the merger. The official merger of the two credit unions will be effective May 31, 2016, with a merge of member accounts taking place later this year.

More Than 30 Companies Join Fibre Federal to Host Financial Reality Fair

Over 380 students from nine local high schools and high school alternative programs attended a Financial Reality Fair on March 29, 30, and 31. The event was presented by Fibre Federal Credit Union, with help from Lower Columbia College, Lower Columbia CAP, the Northwest Credit Union Association, and about 30 other companies who provided over 100 volunteers.

A Financial Reality Fair is a hands-on budgeting simulation where students can gain realistic expectations of the financial journey ahead of them. Students select a career they are interested in pursuing after high school. When they arrive to the fair, they are given a worksheet reflecting what they can realistically expect to earn at that career. They then calculate taxes, and “shop” for a place to live, transportation, food, clothing, entertainment options, and even a pet. The goal is for students to see how far their dollar will go and to realize they will be more successful in life if they learn to manage their money early on.

“We really enjoy making these Financial Reality Fairs available to our local high schools,” said Shannon Cahoon, Community Outreach Coordinator at Fibre Federal Credit Union, and event organizer. “Our goal is to offer a high caliber learning opportunity for our students that doesn’t present any cost for our schools. This year our student attendance grew to nearly 400 students, with more schools planning to participate next year. The only way we can make this event a success is through our volunteers—and we are tremendously grateful to our local companies and individuals who joined us for the event. Without these volunteers, this event simply wouldn’t be possible.”

Participating schools included Mark Morris High School, RA Long High School, Discovery School of Longview, Loowit High School of Kelso, Toutle Lake High School, Rainier High School, Kalama High School, Three Rivers High School, and the Goodwill Alternative High School Program.

Fibre Federal Credit Union would like to extend a heartfelt thanks to the following companies who provided volunteers for the event, as well as the many retired individuals who participated: The Northwest Credit Union Association (who also provided financial assistance, Lower Columbia CAP, Lower Columbia College (who also provided the facilities), Red Canoe Credit Union, Minute Man Press of Longview, Country Financial, Clatskanie PUD, Heritage Bank, Master’s Electric, American Family Insurance, United Way, Cowlitz County Elections office, Cowlitz County Prosecutors Office, Windermere Real Estate, Lower Columbia Longshoremen’s Federal Credit Union, Longview Urology, Kelso Longview Chamber of Commerce, CoPrintCo, Southwest Washington Workforce Development Council, Interstate Pest Control, Accelevant/PT Northwest, Millennium Bulk Terminals, Willamette Dental, Southwest Washington Agency on Aging and Disabilities, Eureka Engineering, the Cowlitz Americorp Network, Diamler, Real Living Real Estate, Weyerhaeuser, Family Health Center, and Coldwell Banker Bain.

Valley Credit Union Selects Seasoned Credit Union Leader as Next CEO

Valley Credit Union’s Board of Directors has announced, effective April 20th, 2016, the selection of Pat Force as the new President/CEO of the Salem, Oregon-based 4,570 member, $68 million asset-sized financial institution.

Force is a 26 year veteran of the credit union movement, serving most recently as the Chief Financial Officer for Northwest Community Credit Union in Eugene, Oregon. He holds a Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of Oregon in Finance and a Master of Business Administration from the University of Phoenix. In addition, Force received the Certified Chief Executive designation from the Credit Union Executive Society (CUES).

“Our board feels fortunate to have connected with a strong, seasoned individual who brings professional and technical depth along with a value driven leadership style which clearly represents and aligns with our long standing mission of “people helping people,” said Denny Nielsen, Chairman of Valley Board of Director Selection Committee.

“I’m truly excited to partner with the Board and staff of Valley Credit Union as we serve the membership together,” said Force. “I look forward to being a part of a team that is focused on helping our members achieve their financial goals.”

The credit union’s search was facilitated by O’Rourke & Associates, a San Francisco-based executive search and consulting firm exclusively serving credit unions.

Spokane Federal Credit Union, Global Credit Union Mascots Arm Wrestle to Raise Funds for March of Dimes

Feddy, mascot for Spokane Federal Credit Union, accepted a challenge from Dollar Dog of Global Credit Union to arm wrestle to raise both awareness and dollars for the Inland Northwest March of Dimes.

Find out how the match turned out here.

Questions about this story? Contact Eric Horvath: 503.350.2222,

Posted in Events, Federal.