Washington credit union acquires assets of North Idaho Banner Bank branch

Sharon Fisher//April 25, 2019

Washington credit union acquires assets of North Idaho Banner Bank branch

Sharon Fisher//April 25, 2019

rending of stcu sandpoint branch
STCU is building a new branch north of Sandpoint, which it expects to open this summer. Rendering courtesy of STCU.

Banner Bank is closing its Sandpoint branch and transferring its accounts there to Spokane Teachers Credit Union (STCU), a Washington-based credit union with six branches in Idaho.

“We have reached an agreement to sell the loans and deposits of our Sandpoint Branch to STCU, pending regulatory approval,” said Kelly McPhee, vice president of communications & public relations for Banner Bank, which is based in Walla Walla, Washington. “With that approval, we anticipate the transaction will close in late summer.  At that time, the clients will be serviced by the nearby STCU branch.”

The Banner Bank branch building will be vacated, and the bank is actively marketing the building with a local real estate expert, McPhee said.

If approved by regulators, this transaction will involve about 1,000 new STCU members, said Dan Hansen, media and communications manager for the Spokane-based company. Banner Bank’s employees will be offered jobs at STCU. The transition is expected to take place on Aug. 23. The nonprofit organization is waiving its membership fee for Banner clients, and will honor the rates and terms on existing loans.

The credit union has a total of 24 branches, including five branches in Kootenai and Bonner Counties. It is opening a sixth in Rathdrum, Hansen said. STCU has been in Idaho since 2002.

In addition, STCU announced in January that it is building a new branch three miles north of Sandpoint, which it expects to open in June.

“The branch itself opened 10 years ago, so this is just a relocation,” Hansen said.

At 4,112 square feet, the building, in a former Payless Shoe Source and designed by ALCS Architect, is nearly double the size of the existing branch location. The new building will also have two drive-thru lanes, while the existing branch location has none. It is being constructed by Meridian Construction.

STCU is a $3.1 billion credit union that is expected to hit 200,000 members later this year, with approximately 680 employees, Hansen said. Since the Bonner County Branch opened in 2009, the credit union’s share of Idaho members has grown from 4% to 15%.

It was originally founded by teachers in 1934, but its membership now is open to nearly anyone in Washington or North Idaho, and others who meet certain qualifications, STCU said, adding that it’s been named the region’s favorite credit union for 14 consecutive years.

Nationwide, there has been a trend of credit unions purchasing entire banks, with nine such acquisitions in 2018 and two in 2019, according to American Banker. However, this acquisition was different, said Lynn Heider, vice president of public relations for the Northwest Credit Union Association, which represents Idaho credit unions.

“This development is not part of the trend of credit unions acquiring banks as, in this case, the credit union is obtaining the assets of a single branch,” she said.

Previously, STCU acquired Wheatland Bank in Cheney, Washington, in 2003.