Our story

The history of STCU

A bell, a shoebox, and $4,000. It might not sound like much, but for English teacher, Ernie McElvain, it was enough in 1934 to launch "Spokane Teachers Credit Union" (STCU) and a remarkable story of financial service.

"We opened for business in October of '34," Ernie said, "with a shoebox for cash deposits and a tiny cubby hole of a classroom at Lewis and Clark High School.

"Access to the credit union was difficult in those days, so we hung a bell on a rope outside the second story window and ran it down to the front door. When members wanted to transact business, they'd pull on the rope and let us know they were waiting."

From these humble beginnings, STCU has grown to more than 600 employees who serve 161,000 members at 20 branch locations.

STCU has become the Inland Northwest's largest and most successful credit union, but we've never forgotten that our most valuable assets are our members. Here's what has happened since 1934:

STCU since 1934
1934 Opens with 120 members and $4,000 in assets. Services limited to simple savings accounts and personal loans.
1940 Grows to 440 members and $52,000 in assets. New services included loan protection, life and term insurance, budgeting assistance, and income tax preparation.
1964 STCU grows to 2,078 members and $1.5 million in assets. Moves to current main office location (106 West Nora, Spokane) and expands field of membership to employees at colleges and high schools in the county.
1974 Credit union increases to 5,018 members and $8.4 million in assets. Membership growth triggered in part by expansion to school employees in seven Eastern Washington counties, and alumni of area colleges.
1984 Grows to 15,608 members and $55 million in assets. Remodeling at STCU's main office doubles the available space to serve members with more sophisticated savings, checking, and consumer loan programs.
1990 After 10 years at STCU, Steve Dahlstrom becomes president/CEO. He is the third president in our history, succeeding Clare Chapman and Ernie McElvain.
2002 Membership eligibility expands to Idaho, with first North Idaho branch locations opening in 2007.
2003 Growing to $550 million in assets, STCU is ranked as the fourth largest credit union in the state by Washington CEO magazine.
2011 Tom Johnson becomes the credit union's fourth president/CEO.
2016 STCU grows to 161,000 members and more than $2.4 billion in assets. Operating at 20 branch locations, STCU operates as a full-service financial institution, with investment accounts, business services, and an abundance of services to save you time and money.

What happened to that rope and bell? It's been traded in for the STCU mobile app and other conveniences that give members access to accounts and STCU financial assistance 24 hours a day, from anywhere in the world. Conveniences that Ernie McElvain could not have imagined in 1934.

Our commitment to members

Our vision, mission and core values say a lot about STCU and what we stand for. We're committed to building the best possible relationship with every member.

Our vision

"To be the most loved and valued financial relationship on earth!"

Our mission

"STCU is committed to maximizing the value of every financial relationship through cost-effective financial services consistent with cooperative principles, applicable legislation, and prudent management."

Our core values are a passion for...

  • Integrity
  • People
  • Service
  • Innovation
  • Education
  • Celebration

STCU Quick Facts

  • 20 branch locations
  • 161,000 members
  • 600 employees 
  • $2.4 billion in assets
  • Since 1934

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