The region's favorite credit union has an additional reason to give thanks this holiday season: STCU membership has reached 200,000.
[december 19, 2019]
Founded in 1934, STCU welcomed its 100,000th member three-quarters of a century later. By comparison, it took just over eight years, from 2011 to 2019, to double membership to 200,000.
"While growth is wonderful, I'm most proud that STCU works so hard to build relationships, one member at a time," said Ezra Eckhardt, President and CEO. "We keep the ‘heart of the member' in every decision we make."
Increasingly, those decisions mean more emphasis on mobile, social and web-based services that can be accessed at any time from any place, while continuing to build out STCU's network of branch locations and ATMs. "We're meeting the member where they want to be met," Eckhardt said.
Anyone in Washington or North Idaho can open a membership at STCU, and can retain their membership even if they leave the region. As a result, STCU has members in every state. The credit union's twice-monthly enewsletter is opened on every continent except Antarctica.
Board Chairwoman Dolores Humiston said much of STCU's growth can be attributed to the authenticity behind the brand promise, "here for good."
"People want great service, particularly when they're dealing with financial issues. They also want to be part of an organization that makes a difference in the community," Humiston said. "I hear all the time from members who are grateful that STCU fills both of those needs."
The membership threshold is the second major milestone for STCU in 2019. Early in the year, the credit union reached $3 billion in total assets, and has seen that grow to nearly $3.3 million in the past 11 months. That puts STCU among the top 80 credit unions nationwide and the third-largest Washington-based credit union.
Spokane schoolteachers started STCU during the Great Depression, and ran it out of a classroom at Lewis and Clark High School. Volunteers lowered a bell from the second-floor window for members to ring for access. Deposits were limited to $20 per member.
Today, STCU has 23 locations in northeastern Washington, the Tri-Cities and North Idaho, with two more opening in 2020. It has been voted the region's best credit union for 14 consecutive years in the Inlander's annual reader survey, and was named Spokane's Philanthropic Corporation of the Year in 2018.
The credit union encourages volunteerism by awarding every employee 16 hours of paid time off for service. In the first 10 months of the year, employees had recorded more than 10,000 volunteer hours. This month, STCU is honoring those employees by awarding 152 donations (a total of $25,000) to non-profit organizations where they serve.
While membership is no longer limited to teachers, STCU honors its roots with a strong commitment to education in a number of ways, including:
- Free financial education that in 2018 reached 12,900 Inland Northwest residents, including more than 7,000 students.
- A long tradition of helping with back-to-school events. This year, that included events attended by more than 6,500 educators at 23 public school districts. Later, 108 of those educators were surprised with $250 grants to spend on any classroom need.
- A generous tuition reimbursement program is open to any STCU employee who wants to further their education. In addition STCU provides a wealth of leadership training for employees through its talent development team as well as outside opportunities, including Western CUNA Management School (offered through the Credit Union National Association) and Leadership Spokane.
Some of our firsts.
- 1934: Founded at Lewis and Clark High School.
- 1950: One-millionth dollar loaned.
- 1964: Our own building (Main Branch).
- 1983: Now the largest credit union in Spokane County.
- 1988: First ATM.
- 1996: Online banking begins.
- 1996: 50,000 members.
- 2007: First Idaho branch (Post Falls).
- 2011: 100,000 members.
- 2014: Mobile App launched.
- 2018: First Tri-Cities branches (Southridge in Kennewick; Queensgate in Richland).
- 2019: 200,000 members.