Branching Out; NW Credit Unions Expand and Remodel

Columbia CU Heads for Portland’s “Goat Blocks”

Vancouver-based Columbia Credit Union is opening its first Oregon branch in the vibrant Buckman neighborhood in Southeast Portland later this year. The new branch will be housed with admired brands such as Market of Choice, Orchard Supply Hardware, and Chipotle. The location has a quirky history; it’s called the “goat blocks” because a herd of urban goats used to graze there.

An architect’s rendering of Columbia CU’s first Oregon branch.

The new branch is expected to use sustainable materials and digital video displays, state-of-the-art digital self-serve ATMs, and eventually remote connection to the credit union’s financial experts. Consumers and businesses will have access to personal service for mortgages, investment, and protective insurance services.

Look for cutting-edge technology, sure, but also for features the neighborhood residents and business owners say they want, according to President/CEO Steve Kenny.

“Things like dog watering stations, bicycle tire pumps, and other forms of out-of-the-box thinking are some of the ways we’re looking at providing benefits to the community,” Kenny said, noting they’ll even ask the neighbors for ideas to name the new spot.

The 87,000 member, $1.2 billion asset-sized credit union currently has 12 branches throughout Clark County, Washington.

Read more about branch viability in this week’s Strategic Link article. CO-OP Financial Services takes a look at the importance of Shared Branching.

St. Helens Community CU Redesigns Rainier Branch

A reimagined St. Helens Community Credit Union branch opened earlier this year in Rainier. While embracing new technology, it also captures the Northwest spirit.

From left to right: St. Helens Community Board of Director Chair Tom Tussing, Director Amanda Komp, and Director Richard Louie, St. Helens Community President/CEO Brooke Van Vleet, Rainier Chamber President Brian Fawcett, Rainier Mayor Jerry Cole, and Rainier School District Superintendent Michael Carter.

The new branch features an online banking self service center, mortgage loan expert area, a friendlier teller row, and a cozy fireplace,” stated St. Helens Community President and CEO Brooke Van Vleet. “Members and staff have been excited to work and do business in such an updated space.”

In addition to the updates inside the branch, the drive through was also remodeled to help more people in less time.

Questions about this story? Contact Lynn Heider: 503.350.2225,




Posted in Around the NW.