Credit union invests in financial literacy, education and member-supported causes
“At BECU, our focus is on making a positive impact on the lives of our members and our local communities,” said Benson Porter, CEO of BECU. “We're honored to have 1 million members for the first time in our history, giving us greater resources to deliver more value and benefits. No matter what our size, our mission remains the same as it was when we were founded in 1935: we are here to serve our members and our community.”
To better serve its members in 2016, BECU opened five new Neighborhood Financial Centers (NFCs), expanded into Eastern Washington and welcomed more than 270 new employees. These additions helped the credit union grow to 1 million members.
Additionally, BECU returned $174 million to its members in the form of better rates and lower fees compared to bank averages.
Key BECU philanthropic efforts and community-giving in 2016 included:
Financial Education – By partnering with local organizations and school districts, BECU offered 330 educational sessions to more than 12,000 community members through seminars, webinars and one-on-one financial coaching. As part of its educational programming, BECU expanded its commitment to youth financial literacy, reaching nearly 9,000 teens and young adults in their classrooms, including 2,000 high school students from Highline schools during a BECU “Closing for Good” event. BECU and Junior Achievement also continued their partnership, with BECU's donation of $230,000 to Junior Achievement of Washington, in support of programs like JA World that bring real-world decision making to life for teens through BizTown and Finance Park.
People Helping People Awards – BECU created the “People Helping People” awards three years ago as a forum for BECU members to nominate local organizations to be honored for their community service. There are four award categories – Community Benefit Award, People's Choice Award, Employee's Choice Award and Member Volunteer of the Year. Through this program, BECU awarded $170,000 in grants to local organizations in 2016.
Volunteer Time Off – BECU provides each full-time employee with 12 hours of paid time off to volunteer with organizations of their choice. In addition to offering this flexible time, BECU matches employee charitable donations up to $5,000. Through these programs, 517 BECU employees volunteered more than 16,600 hours and donated more than $300,000 to local causes.
Hyper-Local Economic Growth – In celebration of its two new Spokane locations, BECU donated $77,000 to Spokane Neighborhood Action Network (SNAP) to save the organization's financial education program and award three grants to fledgling local businesses with community-first missions. BECU also donated to HopeWorks in Snohomish County to support trade-based job training for families experiencing homelessness or residing in low-income housing.
Neighborly Goodwill – In 2016, BECU launched a new community program to empower its branch managers to provide financial support and volunteer time to support local non-profits, chambers of commerce and community organizations. Through this program, BECU supported 89 organizations totaling more than $90,000.
“We are so proud to partner with our members and dedicated organizations to create a meaningful impact on the communities we serve,” said Sara Moorehead, BECU's vice president of Cooperative Affairs. “We look forward to building upon these programs and providing even more ways for our employees and members to give back in the coming year.”
Additional information about BECU's charitable programs and how to get involved is available at https://www.becu.org/members-matter/community-involvement.
BECU is a not-for-profit credit union owned by its members. Members receive the benefits of ownership through lower rates and fewer fees. With more than 1 million members and over $16 billion in assets, BECU is the largest credit union in Washington and one of the top five financial cooperatives in the country. BECU currently operates more than 45 locations in Washington and two