A bell, a shoebox, and $4,000.
Four thousand dollars pooled from a few dozen educators? A shoebox to store cash and receipts? And a bell to signal that a member was calling?
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 640 employees serving more than 179,000 members at 21 branch locations and Home Loans Centers.
STCU has become the Inland Northwest's largest and most successful credit union, but we've never forgotten our most valuable asset — our members.