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Members in the News

Your rundown on who’s doing what in the Northwest credit union movement.

Kitsap County Chapter Raises $2,500 for Victim of School Shooting

The Kitsap County Chapter of Credit Unions hosted an event called “Comfort for Kitsap,” at which the chapter raised $2,500 for the family of Amina Kocer-Bowman, an eight-year-old girl who was injured in an accidental shooting at Bremerton’s Armin Jahr Elementary School in February.

“In our community, we’ve had several tragedies lately, with a local trooper being shot during a traffic stop, a serial killer on the loose, and an eight-year-old little girl shot accidentally by a classmate who brought a gun to school,” said Kim Ingham, assistant vice president of branch operations for Peninsula Credit Union and vice president of the chapter’s board of directors. “She survived the shooting but has many surgeries and a very long recovery ahead of her. Her family needs help with medical bills.”

Ingham said that the Kitsap County Chapter organized and hosted “Comfort for Kitsap” as a community night designed to educate, rally support and raise funds for Kocer-Bowman’s family. With more than 100 people in attendance, the event included a presentation from local law enforcement about safety guidelines, remarks from first-responders, and a performance by Kocer-Bowman’s teacher of an original song written for her injured student.

The fundraiser portion of the evening included a silent auction and raffle with items donated by community members. All told, the event netted $2,500 for Kocer-Bowman’s family. When Kocer-Bowman’s teacher explained that the injured student needed an iPad to continue her schoolwork because she lacked the strength to hold a pencil, the chapter found another partner in its local Best Buy store, which donated half the cost of the iPad and accessories, trimming the expense down to $250 and allowing the chapter to give the family $2,250 in addition to the iPad.

“Amina was released from the hospital just days later and loves her new iPad—complete with a Hello Kitty case,” Ingham said. “It was a great night that provided support and hope to our community and allowed us to focus on the gift we have in our little survivor, Amina.”

Columbia Credit Union Voted ‘Best Financial Institution’ in 2012

Columbia CUColumbia Credit Union was voted “Best Financial Institution” in Clark County, Wash., for the fourth year in a row as part of The Columbian newspaper’s annual Best of Clark County reader poll.

To maintain high service standards, the credit union regularly surveys its membership to monitor member satisfaction, and these service efforts have resulted in a nearly 96 percent member satisfaction rating for 2011—an industry benchmark. Columbia welcomed nearly 10,000 new members throughout 2011.

“When service is a priority for your organization, members notice—and appreciate it,” said Laurie Kusch, Columbia’s vice president of corporate social responsibility.

Much of Columbia’s success can be attributed to the underlying credit union principle of “people helping people.”

“‘Making life better’ is one of our core values, and that’s where we kept our focus in 2011,” Kusch said. “Everything we do, whether we’re offering terrific auto loan values or volunteering in the community, it’s all part of our efforts to make life better for families, individuals and businesses in Clark County.”

Columbia’s dedication to service resulted in additional milestones for 2011, including:

  • Loan growth – Columbia ranked as the No. 1 Clark County vehicle lender. In mortgage lending, Columbia surpassed national lenders, including Chase and US Bank, to rank as the No. 1 and No. 2 Clark County mortgage lender in November and December, respectively.
  • Deposit growth – Columbia ranked as the top Clark County deposit holder, surpassing the next largest deposit holder, Chase Bank, by $20 million.
  • Capital strength – Columbia has maintained capital levels greater than 9 percent for the past five years despite challenging economic conditions. This is well above the 7 percent that regulators define as “well-capitalized.”
  • Awarded for community support – Management staff volunteered more than 1,200 hours to local organizations and helped raise nearly $2.9 million for area nonprofits. Columbia was awarded the 2011 Nonprofit Excellence Award for Corporate Community Support for helping nonprofits achieve greater sustainability through contributions, volunteer support and in-kind services.
  • New products and partnerships established in 2011, including:
    • The Columbia Platinum Visa® Credit Cards – offered members a local choice for Visa credit cards with optional rewards.
    • Columbia CU Mobile – increased member convenience with mobile banking option.
    • Invest In America – introduced a national rewards and discount program exclusively for credit union members.
    • – sponsored the development of a new resource website dedicated to growing local businesses.

Advantis Raffles Hawaii Trip to Raise Money for Doernbecher Children’s Hospital

Advantis Credit Union is selling raffle tickets through May 28 to raise $10,000 for Doernbecher Children’s Hospital in Portland, Ore. Ticketholders are eligible for one of three outstanding prizes: a new iPad, a two-night stay at Skamania Lodge, and a trip for two to Hawaii. Advantis’ fundraising efforts will be matched by the CO-OP Financial Services Miracle Match program, making possible a total donation of $20,000 to Doernbecher.

Advantis joins other Portland and Southwest Washington credit unions in the Credit Unions for Kids campaign to raise $1 million dollars for Doernbecher over the next two years. Credit Unions for Kids will fund the professorship of Dr. Robert Steiner, who specializes in treating genetic bone diseases and disorders of metabolism.

The staff kick-off meeting for the raffle included one of Advantis’ own employees, who described her personal experience with Doernbecher when her infant daughter received life-saving treatment for liver disease.

CU Factory Built Lending Wins Regional Lender Award

CU Factory Built Lending (CUFBL) received the 2012 MHI Regional Lender of the Year Award at the 2012 National Congress & Expo for Manufactured and Modular Housing in Las Vegas, Nev. CUFBL specializes in financing manufactured homes in more than 40 states.

Bill Strunk, regional manager of the west region, and Jeff Mouat, sales and marketing manager, accepted the award on behalf of CUFBL. The company received this honor because of their outstanding performance as the regional lender that best contributes to product innovation, provides the best response to meet customer needs, contributes to the well?being of the manufactured housing lending industry and demonstrates ethical and prudent lending practices.

One innovation that CUFBL provides is the One Step Program which offers extremely low interest rates for the first five years and a very competitive fixed rate for the remainder of the loan term that is locked in at closing. The program allows customers to build equity more quickly because of the reduced interest costs of the loan. The company is also an active participant in state manufactured housing associations through sponsorships and board memberships.

“We are honored to be recognized by our peers for our efforts in serving this industry. At CUFBL, we are a team that thrives in serving others in a family culture, with honesty and integrity, demonstrating loyalty to employees, members, and clients, and responsibility to our community,” Strunk said.

Since 2003, CUFBL has helped meet the growing demand for financing in the manufactured housing market, with regional offices in Greensboro, N.C.; San Antonio, Tex.; Seattle; and Fairfax, Vt.; serving current and prospective manufactured home owners across the United States.

CUFBL is a division of SACU, a $2.9 billion credit union, serving more than 250,000 members with 17 locations in San Antonio, one location in Houston and in communities across the country through CUFBL, its manufactured housing division. For information, contact Jean Lewis, regional relationship manager, at 866.595.7228 ext. 6215.

Advantis GROW Fund Addresses Spring Hunger Gap

Hunger doesn’t take a holiday. When the December donation rush tapers off in January and charitable people go back to their daily lives, hungry families continue to be just that: hungry. For them, daily life means worry about the source of their next meal. SnowCap relieves more than 10,000 of East Metro’s hungry and homeless by opening food pantries around the area. The bar is set high for local non-profits to rescue the victims of a downturned economy, especially in Oregon—one of the hungriest states in the nation according to the Oregon Food Bank. In turn, the current economy can have a negative effect on many non-profits also dependent on being fueled from the communities they serve.

When Portland’s Advantis Credit Union launched GROW, the Advantis Community Fund, their intention was to help out struggling non-profits such as SnowCap with sustainable capital improvement to serve even more people. By creating a $50,000 fund to bolster small- and moderate-sized non-profits with grants of up to $10,000, organizations can thrive and tend to the needs of those desperate for help.

SnowCap is using their $9,000 grant to purchase new food preparation equipment, plumbing, bulk food storage containers and more to be able to serve more families in need. Through their food pantry, food delivery services, and other charitable services, Snowcap will continue to help out their neighbors. And they won’t stop serving hungry people during the Spring Hunger Gap when food donations taper off until the next holiday surge.

“Advantis’ generous grant enables us to upgrade our food equipment and storage to better serve more families nutritious pre-packaged meals,” said Kirsten Wageman, program and development director at SnowCap. “Rather than giving families huge 50 pound bags of foods that may perish, we can prepare complete meals which makes a huge difference.”

Red Canoe Honored with Excellence Award at HR/TD Council Conference

The Excellence Award winners from the Credit Union National Association (CUNA) HR/TD Council were announced during the council’s 18th annual conference, which took place April 18-21 in San Antonio, Tex. Red Canoe Credit Union was recognized for its employee engagement program, which used a creative approach to rewarding and incentivizing staff through specialized training, internal promotions and celebrations. Kim Devine represented the credit union at the conference and was on hand to accept the award.

The Employee Engagement category recognizes an HR/TD Department that has made a significant contribution or has taken an innovative approach in their credit union regarding communication, people development, employee satisfaction, or rewards and recognition.

To promote teamwork within the departments, the team at Red Canoe created Le Tour De Gnome, a two-week scavenger hunt that required teams to collect clues and solve riddles in order to locate a gnome hidden within their community. Red Canoe also created a “Fight Club” to increase their quality score results. Employees who received “mystery shop” scores of 93.5 percent or better had the opportunity to participate in “Fight Club,” allowing them to punch out a hole in a giant punchboard to receive a prize. Prizes included gift cards and various departmental prizes, such as “Jeans Day” or “Departmental Catered Lunch.” This program successfully increased Red Canoe’s quality score from 86 percent to over 93 percent.

The Excellence Awards recognize and honor credit unions that exemplify excellence in the human resources and training disciplines and serve to promote credit union philosophies through people leadership. This year’s winners are (by category):

  • Employee Engagement (Assets Less than $499M): Montana Credit Union Network in Helena, Mont., for their “Healthy You” Wellness Program. Implemented in 2009, the Montana Credit Union League Group Benefit Trust now provides health insurance to 27 credit union organizations across the state of Montana. Their wellness program for participants has been a key solution to reducing claims and slowing the rising costs of healthcare.
  • Employee Engagement (Assets $500M - $1B): Red Canoe Credit Union in Longview, Wash., for their “Employee Engagement” Program which used a creative approach to rewarding and incenting staff through specialized training, internal promotions and celebrations.
  • Employee Engagement (Assets More than $1B): Sandia Laboratory Federal Credit Union in Albuquerque, N.M., for their “Management Bytes” Program, a newsletter for management staff that covers a variety of topics such as salary, employment interviewing, sexual harassment and dealing with employee performance issues.
  • Employee Engagement (Assets More than $1B): Mountain America Credit Union in West Jordan, Utah, for its “8 Pillars Personal Finance” Program which fostered employee’s confidence in their ability to handle their personal financial matters.  This confidence created a positive impact on how they serve and advise members who come to them for financial assistance.
  • HR/TD Management Practices (Assets More than $1B): Mountain America Credit Union in West Jordan, Utah, for their “Online Branch Member Training Tutorials” which provided training for members and employees concerning their new online banking system. These tools will remain a resource for employees as they teach both new and existing members about Online Branch.
  • HR/TD Strategic Leadership (Assets Less than $499M): Montana Credit Union Network in Helena, Mont., for their “Smart Moves” Program. The program, which is offered to credit union organizations in the state of Montana, breaks down typical educational barriers by providing regional, low cost training that minimizes volunteers’ time commitments, while maximizing the benefit of the time they spend on credit union business.
  • HR/TD Strategic Leadership (Assets More than $1B): Patelco Credit Union in Pleasanton, Calif., for their “Change Management Initiative – Corporate Relocation from San Francisco to the Burbs.” In addition to a cross functional employee team to help communicate the vision and need for change to staff, Patelco also developed a microsite as a resource for employees to learn about the new area.
  • HR/TD Strategic Leadership (Assets More than $1B): UW Credit Union in Madison, Wis., for their “Far From Average – UW Credit Union’s Extreme Lending Initiative.” Using the approach of increasing the focus on the skills, programs and infrastructure needed to become experts at inviting members’ loan business, UW Credit Union was able to achieve a 5.50% increase in loan growth while utilizing existing staff and resources.

For more information on the 2012 Excellence Awards, go to, and click on the “Award & Recognition Program” link, located on the “Events” pull-down menu.

Unitus Named One of ‘100 Best Companies to Work for in Oregon’

Unitus Community Credit Union has been named one of the “100 Best Companies to Work for in Oregon” by Oregon Business Magazine and premiered as No. 7 among large companies on this year’s prestigious annual list.

Gayle Evans, vice president of human resources for Unitus, attributes this honor and company success to every Unitus employee.

“We take organizational culture seriously at Unitus and are thrilled that 70 percent of our Oregon workforce participated,” she said. “This honor affirms that we are living our shared value of working well together.”

The 100 Best list recognizes large, medium and small companies for excellence in work environment, management and communications, decision-making and trust, career development and learning, and benefits and compensation.

"The 100 Best project has been identifying great workplaces for almost two decades," said Oregon Business Editor Robin Doussard. "It is truly one of the most meaningful awards a company can receive, because it is the employees who decide those great workplaces."

This recognition adds to the growing list of recent accolades received by Unitus. Unitus was a recipient of the 2011 Oregon Ethics in Business Award and has been honored as a Corporate Philanthropy Award Winner by the Portland Business Journal for the past two consecutive years.

Forest Park Federal Merges with SELCO Community Credit Union

Forest Park Federal Credit Union in Portland, Ore., has completed the process of merging with SELCO Community Credit Union in Eugene, Ore. In September 2011, Forest Park, a $40 million Portland-based credit union, selected SELCO as its strategic merger partner of choice. The merger became official on Jan. 1, 2012, and operational integration was completed on April 1.

“We are pleased to welcome Forest Park members to the SELCO family and confident they will benefit from the full range of banking, mortgage, business-lending and insurance services that we offer,” said SELCO CEO Bob Newcomb. “We look forward to building positive and durable relationships with the residents and businesses in this vibrant community.”

SELCO Community Credit Union is the third largest Oregon-based credit union in the state. The two Portland branches—one at 2465 NW Thurman Street and another in the Portland VA Hospital—will increase member access to a total of 15 branches located in Albany, Bend, Eugene, Portland, Redmond, Salem and Springfield.

Red Canoe Recognized for ‘Unique’ Brand Advertising

Red Canoe Brand AdvertisingRed Canoe Credit Union was recently recognized at the Credit Union National Association’s (CUNA’s) Marketing and Business Development Diamond Award ceremony for its Kelso Library Community Giving Project. The credit union donated artistic design, furniture and space improvement for a new reading room to be constructed in the Kelso Public Library, which is located inside the Three Rivers Mall in Kelso, Wash.

“The credit union was happy to provide this donation to the library. We look for unique ways to infuse our brand into our communities while simultaneously making a difference in the lives of those surrounding us,” said Amy Davis, vice president of marketing for Red Canoe. “Donating a special space just for kids to explore the endless possibilities of their imaginations was a perfect fit for us. Red Canoe stands behind children’s literacy and education.”

The donation comes on the heels of other creative advertising channels the credit union has pursued, including a donation of scoreboards at the local community college field, donations to Castle Rock School District during its last branch grand opening, and the Fill the Canoe–branded school supply drive that supports eight school districts.

“No one is saying traditional media is dead,” Davis said. On the contrary, we’ve had great success through media channels. However, it’s important to recognize consumers absorb brands emotionally. We’re simply trying to connect a portion of our advertising dollars in a deeper way than traditional media will afford.”

BECU Awards Lake Hills Elementary with $2,500 Grant for Online Math Tutor

Students at Lake Hills Elementary School are getting an extra boost to prepare for their upcoming Measurements of Student Progress (MSP) tests in May thanks to BECU and Whizz Education, creator of the online math tutor for elementary and middle school students that makes learning math fun. For the second year in a row, BECU is awarding Lake Hills with a $2,500 grant to purchase access to Math-Whizz, which all 470 students at the school will use to learn math.

"BECU School Grants allow us to support programs that can have a positive impact on the lives of students, but lack funding needed to make them a reality," said Matt Turner, BECU Member Consultant. "It means a lot to BECU to be able to support Lake Hills Elementary with technology such as Math-Wizz to help give kids the best education possible."

Math-Whizz is an online learning environment crawling with animated creatures that teaches children addition, subtraction, multiplication, division and computational problem solving. Lake Hills determines how often students access the program based on their MSP scores three times a year. A student who is excelling might log into Math-Whizz twice a week while a student who is struggling might engage the program up to twice a day.

Students can also earn credits to challenge other math students from around the world and to stock their Math-Whizz bedrooms with digital toys, pets, plants and more.

"We are grateful that Seattle businesses like BECU recognize the value in helping schools provide students with all the resources available in the marketplace to ensure they reach their full potential," said Ben Keogh, president of Whizz Education. "We are confident that these students will shine on their MSP tests and we wish them the best of luck."

Advantis Real Estate Officer Named Five Star Mortgage Professional

Advantis Credit Union’s mortgage department has another accolade to add to its list. Jeri Maher, a 30-year Advantis employee and one of the nation’s top performers in mortgage loans, has recently been named Five Star Mortgage Professional. The Five Star Professional is awarded to mortgage professionals who rated highest in overall satisfaction from clients, peers and industry experts.

Five Star Professional conducts research each year to identify the mortgage professionals in the Portland area who rated highest in overall satisfaction. The survey data was collected and scored, resulting in the list of 2012 Portland Five Star Mortgage Professionals. The final list represents less than 4 percent of the mortgage professionals in the Portland market.

Surveys were sent to 17,000 Portland area residents who recently purchased a home over $150,000 within a 12-month period (May 2010 to May 2011). An additional 250 surveys were sent to mortgage and title companies. Consumers who agreed to participate in the survey provided the name of the mortgage professional and rated that individual according to key criteria, such as overall satisfaction and whether respondents would highly recommend them to a friend.

Maher has played an integral role in the credit union’s mortgage department, which has seen tremendous growth and success over the last few years; Maher was responsible for 56% of the credit union’s mortgage loan production in 2011.

“I am honored to be chosen for this award,” Maher said. “I am committed to providing excellent service to our members and do my best to do that on every transaction. My number one goal is to make the home loan process as painless as possible; I truly enjoy my job and hope that my borrowers have a great experience working with me!”

Oregon Community Credit Union Announces New Hires

Oregon Community Credit Union (OCCU) announced the following new hires on April 17: Amy Brannan, senior human resource generalist; Chris Bernard, IT manager; Dave Schiffer, director of finance; and Bob Potter, director of credit cards.

  • Brannan joined OCCU as senior human resource generalist. Prior to this, Brannan spent 25 years work at REI and has extensive experience leading teams to reach financial goals and provide exceptional customer service. Brannan also has experience developing strategies to retain and develop talent, as well as training teams and leaders to successfully support the growth of the company. At OCCU, Brannan will work to develop programs to enhance the capacity of employees to achieve success and provide a strong work environment through comprehensive benefit programs.
  • Bernard has been hired as IT manager for OCCU. Bernard was IT manager for Business Enterprise Systems at PeaceHealth before joining Oregon Community. He has extensive experience managing teams to continually improve performance of production systems. At OCCU, Bernard will manage a team of professionals to develop technology strategies that will help enhance business operations, improve cost effectiveness and efficiency, increase service quality, ensure security, and mitigate risk.
  • Schiffer has been named director of finance for OCCU. Schiffer most recently served as supervising senior accountant for Lane County. He has a wide breadth of knowledge regarding cash management, budgeting and reporting. He will oversee both accounting and business intelligence for Oregon Community.
  • Potter has been hired as director of credit cards for Oregon Community. Potter most recently served as credit card product manager and financial systems analyst at Bellco Credit Union in Colorado. His expertise is in credit card program analytics, product development, risk management and loss mitigation. Potter will oversee card services and help build Oregon Community’s credit card program.

OnPoint Plans to Open Three New Branches in Portland Area

OnPoint Community Credit Union, the largest credit union in Oregon, is continuing its investment and expansion in the Portland market with the addition of three new branches.

OnPoint members will have increased access to a comprehensive suite of both personal and business banking services, including basic and interest checking, savings accounts, money market accounts, auto and residential lending, Rewards Visa credit cards, CDs and IRAs.

The new branches will be located in the Sellwood, Rose City and Northwest Portland neighborhoods and will create 19 jobs for the local community.

“With the addition of these new branches, we are providing members with more access to OnPoint products and services and continuing to build on our strength and security,” said OnPoint President and CEO Rob Stuart.

Salem SHRM Chapter Receives Distinguished Award

The Salem chapter of the Society for Human Resource Management received the Platinum EXCEL Award designation for the scope of its work in 2011.

The EXCEL Award is the recognition component of the SHRM Affiliate Program for Excellence (SHAPE). SHAPE measures include alignment with SHRM's overall objectives, strategic focus and initiatives, as well as promoting the HR profession at the local level.

"This recognition demonstrates both the leadership and the successful partnership the chapter has with SHRM to serve the networking and professional development needs of human resource professionals and to the advancement of the human resources profession" noted Pamela J. Green, SPHR, vice president of U.S. membership for SHRM.

SHRMA projects include:

  • Partnering with Oregon Easter Seals to help them promote their employment program—geared toward matching job candidates with employers.
  • Supporting Willamette University's SHRM Student Chapter. Student members are in the MBA program with a focus in human resources.
  • Ensuring that the SHRMA monthly education programs are approved through the HR Certification Institute (HRCI) for PHR/SPHR recertification credits. "Continuing education is a requirement for maintaining professional certification, so we make sure HR professionals have a resource for that through our chapter events," said Barbara Cecil, SHRMA president and director of human resources at Maps Credit Union.
  • Participating in job fairs and mock interviews to help young professionals seeking employment in HR and related professions.
  • Supporting the SHRM Foundation by hosting an annual social event and silent auction, and a 50/50 raffle at each of our monthly meetings. The SHRM Foundation provides educational support, sponsorship and evidence-based research to HR professionals.

The SHRMA board includes human resources professionals from various local organizations:

  • President: Barbara Cecil, Maps Credit Union
  • Past President: Shauneen Scott, Oregon Department of Corrections
  • Secretary: Carolyn Ross, DHS -- Oregon Health Authority
  • Treasurer and College Relations Director: Shelby Gould, Willamette University
  • Programs Director: Deborah Jeffries, HR Answers, Inc.
  • Legislative Affairs Director: David Briggs, Saalfeld Griggs
  • Membership Director: Scott Cantu, Oregon Department of Corrections
  • Diversity Director: Kevin Alano, Oregon Corrections Enterprises
  • Student Chapter Liaison: Tania Weets, Willamette University

SHRMA received a certificate of recognition and a specialized banner to display at its meetings and events and is being recognized in SHRM's publications and at its conferences.

The Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) is the world's largest association devoted to human resource management. The Society serves the needs of HR professionals and advances the interests of the HR profession. Founded in 1948, SHRM has more than 250,000 members in over 140 countries, and more than 575 affiliated chapters.

If you or someone you know is interested in getting involved in an organization that will provide excellent networking opportunities with other human resource professionals, as well as educational and professional growth opportunities, contact Chapter President Barbara Cecil at or visit the SHRMA website at

Solarity Credit Union Wins National Marketing Awards

Yakima, Washington (April 9, 2012) - Solarity Credit Union recently took home three awards from the Credit Union National Association Marketing and Business Development Council (CMBDC) Annual Meeting held in New Orleans, LA. Solarity took Diamond Awards in the following categories: Branding/Corporate Identity, Logos, and Miscellaneous.

The merger activities of the Credit Union caused YVCU and CCU to redesign and rebrand its corporate identity. Solarity won in overall redesign of its new name and for branding efforts. In the Miscellaneous category, the branding video that was used as announcement to members and staff took a Diamond.

Great NorthWest Federal Credit Union Expands Strategy with eDOC

Great NorthWest Federal Credit Union has signed with eDOC Innovations to expand their collaboration by adding eDOC’s ProDOC Receipts™ for electronic receipt processing as part of the credit union’s e-document strategy. Based in Aberdeen, Wash., Great NorthWest serves more than 13,000 members.

“With ProDOC Receipts, electronic receipt processing and storage of receipt information, including the client signature, is a cinch,” said Joseph Lao, eDOC’s manager of market development. “Time-consuming paper processing and storage of the receipt, not to mention the costly research time for receipt copies, are all eliminated.”


Do you have something to add to next month’s ‘Members in the News’? Contact Matt Halvorson, Anthem Editor:

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