People get excited about milestone birthdays, you know, the ones that end in zero. They offer the chance to take stock, celebrate what you've accomplished so far and look ahead to what's next. WSECU will mark our 60th anniversary of serving members this month. The big 6-0! The most important part of any milestone celebration is to thank the people who got you to this point. For WSECU, that's you, our members.
WSECU began in 1957 when a small group of state employees came together to create an institution where the members could benefit by pooling their deposits and lending to each other. State employees were sometimes unable to get the services they needed from other institutions. So, they created their own not-for-profit, member-owned cooperative.
We started humbly above a bowling alley in a small office on Capitol Way in Olympia. Today, we're poised to open our 21st branch in Bellevue later this year and are honored to serve more than 235,000 members. While once exclusive to public employees, we now welcome any resident of the state of Washington to join WSECU.
What remained consistent over the decades was our unwavering desire to provide you with the very best service. Your input and requests led to innovations and offerings like the addition of checking accounts, or what was once known as "share drafts." Funny to think about that now as "new."
We added different types of loans for you to achieve your goals. Investment services are now part of our full suite of offerings. And of course the past 20 years, the digital product expansion has been on a fast track with no end in sight. You continue to guide the changes we are making to serve you better through input from surveys, social media comments, member advisory panels and the conversations you have our outstanding and dedicated employees.
We don't just offer products. These are tools to achieve members' dreams. When we are able to do help you do that, we are the most proud. Member Ian Maki shared with us recently:
"We are a couple of members of WSECU, and our relationship with our credit union made it possible to fulfill some life dreams. We bought an old Airstream in Yakima and spent the past three years renovating it and our Seattle home. This was only possible through some financial assistance from WSECU to provide us credit to afford purchases and when we decided that what we could do is remodel our home, sell it, and then take off for places unknown in the really quite fabulous Airstream. WSECU really stood by us and last year, when we decided to take the plunge, provided the right amount of credit at the right time, allowing us to finance the remodel using a HELOC from WSECU."
It's an honor to play a role in helping members like Ian achieve their dreams. On behalf of the Board of Directors, thank you for being a member and thank you for six decades of believing in the value of banking cooperatively.
We're celebrating 60 years in all of our branches Friday, July 14 - please stop by and join us.
Carole Washburn, Board Chair