STCU and Umpqua Bank are seeking regulatory approval to convert four Umpqua Bank stores into STCU branches in Medical Lake, Ritzville, Coulee City and Othello, Wash.
september 10, 2020
The deal, if approved, would give STCU its first locations in Adams and Grant counties, where it has existing members, while bolstering its presence in the growing West Plains area of Spokane County.
It would provide a convenient branch experience for existing STCU credit union members in rural communities, while welcoming more than 5,000 Umpqua customers into the STCU family. Umpqua employees would be offered positions at the credit union.
“While STCU members increasingly are accessing their accounts through online banking and our mobile app, a visit to an STCU branch location remains foundational to the STCU experience,” said Ezra Eckhardt, STCU president and CEO.
Umpqua customers, too, are turning to digital tools with increased frequency. As part of its Human Digital Banking strategy, which leverages technology to empower deeper, more meaningful human connections with its customers in a digital environment, Umpqua is partnering with other financial institutions like STCU to continue providing a physical branch location in smaller communities. By working with STCU on the friendly acquisition, Umpqua helps ensure that none of the four communities is left without physical access to a financial institution.
“Customer preferences continue to change how we deliver banking services. What remains the same is our strong commitment to supporting local communities and partnering with others to ensure the financial needs of customers are covered,” said Brian Read, Umpqua’s executive vice president and head of retail banking. “We’re really pleased that STCU has agreed to purchase these four locations and will continue serving customers locally.”
The acquisition is subject to approval by the FDIC, the National Credit Union Administration, and the Washington State Department of Financial Institutions. STCU and Umpqua hope to complete the acquisition late this year, or in early 2021.
Credit unions are not-for-profit cooperatives, owned by members, and overseen by elected boards of directors. They offer similar products and services as banks, and deposit accounts at either type of financial institution are federally insured for up to $250,000 per account.
STCU offers an array of savings and lending products, home loans, rewards and conventional credit cards, and more. If the acquisition is approved, the new STCU members will find that their Umpqua accounts align well with similar accounts at the credit union.
STCU also serves businesses and public agencies, with commercial real estate and business loans, credit cards, lines of credit, and loans for new equipment, vehicles, or inventory. Businesses also turn to the credit union for cash management tools.
“We will make this conversion as seamless as possible for Umpqua Bank customers,” Eckhart said. “Once approval is granted, they will receive all the information they need for a successful transition to the credit union.”
STCU and Umpqua share similar origin stories in their Northwest hometowns. STCU was founded in 1934 to serve Spokane schoolteachers. Umpqua was founded in 1953 to serve timber workers in Canyonville, Oregon.
Today, STCU is one of the nation’s top-100 credit unions as measured by total assets, and Umpqua is the largest bank headquartered in the Pacific Northwest. Both are known for their community commitment, and score high marks for service to accountholders.
The four Umpqua stores were Sterling Bank branches, prior to Umpqua’s acquisition of Sterling in 2014. Eckhardt was president of Spokane-based Sterling, and became chief operating officer at Umpqua after the merger. He became STCU president and CEO on Jan. 1, 2018.
“Knowing these two organizations as I do, I am confident that the wellbeing of Umpqua customers and STCU members will be foremost on the minds of everyone involved in this project, along with the good of these four communities,” Eckhardt said. “We can’t wait to show our new members everything that makes STCU a great financial partner.”
Founded in 1934, STCU has 24 branch locations in the Spokane area, North Idaho, and Tri-Cities, Wash. STCU’s 207,000 consumer and business members enjoy 24-hour access to their accounts through online banking, the STCU mobile app, and nearly 30,000 surcharge-free ATMs nationwide. Read our story.