TwinStar Credit Union has a straightforward brand promise: Realizing financial dreams together. Celebrating its 80th year of business, TwinStar has taken these four simple words to heart, and helped thousands of its members throughout the Pacific Northwest make their financial dreams a reality.
TwinStar Credit Union began as a dream of its own between two Olympia High School teachers in 1938. Their goal was to create a sort of safe haven for their fellow teachers during the peak of the Great Depression.
“Unemployment was high and credit was difficult to maintain,” explains Paulette Raico, Director of Marketing. “Some borrowers were forced to use loan sharks who charged interest rates as high as 36 percent or more. A credit union could help improve their financial standing. And on January 3, 1938, Thurston County Teachers Credit Union (TCTCU) opened for business.”
Each day after classes, founder Dewey Noblitt would set up shop in Room 121 at the high school. Sometimes he would accept payments from teachers in the halls between classes, making sure to write down the amount of each payment before accepting it. Throughout the 1940s, 1950s and 1960s, TCTCU grew as Thurston County did. By the 1970s, TCTCU reached $10 million in assets.
Then beginning in 1980, TCTCU underwent a number of mergers and membership expansions. Thirty short years later, the company grew to more than 100,000 members and just over $1 billion in assets. In that time, it had changed its name to Twin County Credit Union in 1981, and then to TwinStar Credit Union in 2006.
As TwinStar grew, so too did their commitment to the community. “Giving back has always been a priority at TwinStar,” says Raico. “Since the very beginning when our founders sought to help their fellow teachers through tough financial times, TwinStar has supported countless causes and organizations that contribute to the health and well-being of our member communities.”
In one year alone, TwinStar awarded $113,000 in scholarships through their TwinStar Foundation; $250,000 through community events, scholarships and community sponsored labor; $143,000 in social responsibility; and more than 4,500 employee volunteer hours.
A few examples of TwinStar’s earlier community commitment include TwinStar assisting members in Lewis County affected by the 2006 TransAlta Mine closure in Centralia. “We provided financial tools, counselors and assistance packages for families,” says Raico. “[We also made] a $20,000 donation to the Lewis County Food Bank, as well as funds to 20 area schools to help provide students with basic necessities.” And in 2008, TwinStar rose to the call once more by raising $1,125 and 1,200 pounds of food for those impacted by the December windstorm and flooding, a storm that temporarily closed the Centralia and Chehalis branches.
To this end, the community responded. In February 2018, TwinStar received the Community Service Award from the Lacey South Sound Chamber. It was “a result of our commitment and dedication to supporting the community,” says Corinn Wohl, Director of Business Development. “Our goal is to make the communities we serve a better place for our members to live, work and raise their children.”
The credit union has also partnered with the Bethel Education Foundation, a provider of enrichment grants for teachers. “The foundation lost funding they had received from a private business so they had to resort to using internal donations from the teachers and staff,” says Wohl. “TwinStar was able to step in to support the funding need and increase the scholarship reaching more teachers and providing larger grants.”
Yet above all that, TwinStar Credit Union is just that – a financial institution that’s a cut above the rest. “We’re a not-for-profit financial cooperative owned by our members and committed to providing the best in a banking relationship, and we’re committed to our members’ success,” says Raico. “Our brand promise, Realizing financial dreams together, states our goals and intentions in just a few words. Whether it’s a new home, a new car or growing a business, TwinStar has the people, tools and values to help make dreams a reality – not many other banking institutions can say that! For the past 80 years, we’ve taken this purpose to heart and put it to use in serving members and the communities where they live, work and play.”
“We have the people, tools and value systems in place to help our members not only have a great place to bank, but also have a prosperous future,” agrees Wohl. “The promise provides valuable differentiation for TwinStar as many other banking institutions cannot provide the same experience.”
For more information, visit the TwinStar website or your local branch. TwinStar has two branches in Pierce County: the Lakewood branch is located at 9601 S Tacoma Way #103, Tacoma, WA 98499. The Spanaway branch is located at 13505 Pacific Avenue S., Tacoma, WA 98444.