News & Notes From Around the Northwest: CU Community Impact and Talented Employees

BECU, Mid Oregon reaches milestone; TwinStar celebrates grand opening; St. Helens members cash-in.

BECU Puts $3 Million into Communities it Serves, and Media Notices

The South Sound Business Examiner gave a shout out to BECU and it’s employees for exemplary volunteerism and philanthropic engagement. Last year, 517 employees of the Tukwila-based credit union volunteered more than 16,000 hours of time to work in local communities. They also donated more than$300,000 to local causes, through a BECU program that matches employees’ gifts, up to $5,000.

“At BECU, our focus is on making a positive impact on the lives of our members and our local communities,” CEO s Benson Porter told the Examiner. “We’re honored to have 1 million members for the first time in our history, giving us greater resources to deliver more value and benefits.”

Through volunteerism, community support, and monetary contributions, BECU put $3 million into the communities it served last year.

Central Oregon Headquartered Credit Union Reaches Milestone

Mid Oregon Credit Union, headquartered in Bend, just reached another major milestone. In the first quarter of 2017 Mid Oregon Credit Union announced that its assets surpassed $250 million for the first time since establishment in 1957.

The credit union has pursued an aggressive growth strategy with the addition of a new La Pine branch in June 2016 and a sister location opening in the next few weeks. To support continued growth, Mid Oregon invested in the purchase of an administrative office building in mid-2016. Mid Oregon has experienced strong growth and increased market share in deposits and loans, just recently recognized for 100,000 loans to members since inception.

“This major milestone reflects the strength and stability of our financial institution and the strength of the Central Oregon economy,” explained Bill Anderson, President and CEO. “We work hard to build relationships and trust with our members and our community. Our single focused commitment to Central Oregon sets us apart from other financial institutions. People are interested in Mid Oregon Credit Union as a preferred local provider for financial services.”

Financial reports for Mid Oregon indicate that the credit union’s members have been attracted by the institution’s competitive loan rates, particularly those associated with vehicle loans, Visa credit and commercial lending.

“We are seeing very strong membership growth and the associated deposits, lending and checking accounts.” said Kyle Frick, VP Marketing. “Products and services like Simply Free Checking, mobile deposit, debit card security app (CardNav), and Home Equity loans and Lines of Credit are helping members with more convenient access to their accounts, saving time and money.”

Branch Brilliance: TwinStar CU “Banks” on Flexible Prototype

TwinStar Credit Union celebrated the grand opening of a new 2,000 square foot branch in downtown Hazel Dell, WA.

In collaboration with Momentum, a national “plan-design-build” firm, TwinStar created a branch model targeted specifically to the bustling urban area’s consumers, who according to research, prefer mobile banking for routine transactions. This led the design team to skip the teller pods featured in other TwinStar locations and focus the design around kitchen island and café style “conversation zones.”

“We’ve noticed a change in member behavior – they are not coming in for simple transactions nearly as often because most of those can be done electronically,” said Jeff Kennedy, President and CEO. “The new Hazel Dell branch allows us [to] provide our members answers to financial questions and help them set up accounts on their phone or computer. This consultative approach gives us the ability to customize the member experience for each of them.”

Conversely, TwinStar will open another branch later this year in the small town environment of Aberdeen, WA.  That branch, Kennedy said, will feature teller pods to support the higher transaction volumes TwinStar experiences in the market.

“The true branch of the future isn’t necessarily a flashy, modern design or self-service technology, but rather a design that truly understands the local community and helps a financial institution deliver greater value to their customer or member,” said Mark Alguard, Strategic Director at Momentum.

St. Helens Community Members Cash-in with ‘Save to Win’

Tara Lynn Kuehn accepts her $25 check from St. Helens Community Credit Union.

Save to Win is paying off for St. Helens Community Credit Union members. They’re improving their savings habits while earning the chance to be entered into cash prize drawings.

The multi-state prize-linked savings account kicked off in January, and already three members have cashed in, winning prizes.

The program encourages members to save toward their future by offering monthly and quarterly cash prizes of up to $5,000.

“Any of our members can win,” stated Robin Balza, Chief Operating Officer at St. Helens Community. “Members just need to stop by the credit union and open a 12-month Save to Win share certificate. They are entered to win cash prizes with every $25 deposit. It’s a great deal for everyone.”

Save to Win programs are legal in both Oregon and Washington.  If your credit union is interested in offering this “win-win” to your members, please contact Northwest Credit Union Association Program Manager Kaitlin Ramos.