WCU Joins Forest Grove High School Career Expo

WCU’s booth at the Forest Grove Career Expo

On Tuesday, March 6th, Hundreds of sophomores, juniors, and seniors filed into Forest Grove High School’s gymnasium, perusing the nearly 50 organizations there during Willamette Education Service District’s “Career Expo at Forest Grove HS”.

“I just got accepted to BYU,” said one senior girl, who was planning on becoming an engineer.

“I’m not sure where I want to go to school, but I know I want a job in finance,” said another.

Fittingly enough, among those present in Forest Grove was Wauna Credit Union (WCU). Credit unions are not only excellent examples of cooperative, people-based institutions, they’re also great places to start a career.

WCU’s Member Relationship Officer, Stephanie Pesio, alongside Communications Specialist, Michael Murdoch were on hand to talk about the benefits of joining and working for a credit union.

“We have so many opportunities for young people at Wauna,” said Pesio. “WCU has an internship program for current high school kids, too. We have full-time employees who have risen in the ranks here long after starting as interns,” she added.

All told, about 100 students stopped by WCU’s booth. There was, of course, a bowl of candy present and a chance to win $50 for filling out a short survey. With questions like “What is the difference between a bank and a credit union?” and “Can you name three credit unions?”, the survey helps WCU gauge young peoples’ understanding of the industry.

“I think a credit union is local and does loans, right?” said one Forest Grove High School junior.

“There’s still a lot of confusion over what exactly a credit union is,” said Murdoch. “But we did a lot of teaching.”

Though their credit union education might need some work, WCU is looking forward to a larger presence in Forest Grove. Later in 2018, construction begins on WCU’s newest branch. WCU’s presence will account for only one of two credit unions in the area.

“We look forward to the future and are excited to be involved in the schools, the city, and in the community,” said Murdoch.

Wauna Credit Union is now serving cannabis-related businesses

We are now offering compliant, transparent banking services to cannabis-related businesses within our field of membership.

So, what does this mean?

It means that we have a responsibility to ensure that our services and practices are in-line with the credit union philosophy of “People Helping People.” We looked at the 25,000 members in multiple communities across a swath of cities and counties that we now serve, and knew that cannabis-related businesses are now established in all. By allowing cannabis-related businesses to have legitimate financial services, we are helping improve the safety and security of our members and the areas in which they live are.

Cannabis-related businesses often deal in cash-only transactions and so generally have large amounts of cash on-hand. Such circumstances can lead to an increase in crime or other dangerous activities. That being said, offering legal and compliant banking solutions to these businesses just makes sense to us – we are getting that cash off the streets and into a safe place.

“Serving the CRB industry, we become part of the solution and not part of the problem. The CRBs have difficulty forming banking relationships due to the limited number of credit unions and banks serving this industry. Providing banking services to this industry legitimizes these businesses. It also adds an element of safety and security to all of us that live and/or work in the community, which is in all of our best interests.”
— Robert Blumberg, CEO and President of Wauna Credit Union.

In addition, cannabis-related businesses are now legal businesses in Oregon and Washington. Those who choose to work in this field deserve to be treated fairly, and not required to hide the source of their money.

But it doesn’t mean we are taking this decision lightly. The cannabis industry possesses unique banking challenges. Cannabis is still illegal on a federal level and so Wauna Credit Union must adhere to many strict state and federal laws and policies.

We are covering our bases. We’ve assembled a specialized department to handle all due diligence and account opening for these accounts. An Oregon attorney is working with us to guarantee this program and the businesses with CRB accounts are fully complying with state law. Wauna Credit Union has zero tolerance for any type of deception or illegal activity. Accounts not complying with state and federal regulations will be closed immediately.

A safe community is a sound community, and Wauna Credit Union will continue to do what we can to see that we are contributing to bettering the places where we live and work. This sometimes requires making difficult decisions, sacrifices, and other changes. But if that means making things safer for the people we serve, then we are making the right decision.

Inquiries regarding Wauna Credit Union’s Cannabis Business Solutions account applications and opening procedures can be made at 800-773-3236.

Media inquiries may be directed to our Chief Marketing Officer Debi Smiley at 503-728-6116.

The Power of Giving

The Power of GivingA lot has happened over 50 years of Wauna Credit Union being Wauna Credit Union. We’ve seen 11 presidents; digital music; the Automated Teller Machine; the cellphone. We’ve watched the communities in and around our birthplace expand and change. We have seen members move away and come back, grow up and pass on.

To mark this milestone in our history, we’ve celebrated all year. There have been giveaways and cupcakes and cookies. But we’ve recognized that it’s not just about celebrating. One half of a century is more than long enough for us to have recognized how vital our communities really are.

What better way to recognize than to give back?

We’ve decided that a history and love of our communities coupled with our passion for helping others deserves something a bit more. For that reason, Wauna CU has created a very special campaign, which we’ve aptly named, “The Power of Giving X 50.”

This December, each and every staff member of Wauna Credit Union has been allotted $50 to give back as they see fit. At over 100 strong, we are a force – a force for good.

Perhaps you’ll find one of us buying groceries for a person at the supermarket or maybe you’ll see us donating to a local charity. But no matter where or how we give, it won’t always be about random acts of kindness. Because while we are giving back to these communities, we also belong to these communities.

One Wauna CU employee, Michael, has chosen to give to a local woman named Lanie. Lanie discovered in July that she has stage 4 bone cancer:

I choose this person as my good deed because it hit close to home. I choose this person because I am a two-time cancer survivor. My first diagnosis was the more serious of the two, but there was no guarantee that I was going to make it. This girl is facing some of the same challenges that most people will never understand. I know what it is like to have to go to chemo and radiation. Not only is it physically draining, but also mentally draining, which is an aspect people often fail to realize. Sometimes when going through difficult situations people need something to distract them, even if it is only temporary. If we can help take her mind off of this situation for even a moment, then to me it would have been well worth it.  

Another, Kailynn, used her power of giving to help a family at a local grocery store:

I purchased a $50.00 Safeway gift card and was carrying it in my wallet for a few days until I got the chance to give it away. While picking up some groceries after work I saw a man and his two small children doing the same. We crossed paths a few times in the store and each time all three of them were smiling, chatting, and just seemed to be enjoying their time even though they were only at the grocery store. I approached him and let him know I work for Wauna and we would like to help him with his grocery bill. He was confused at first thinking there was a catch, but after I explained to him what we were doing and why we are giving back to the members of our community he opened up to me. He let me know that he only gets to see his children every other weekend and with the limited time he has with them he always tries to make it memorable and fun for them, on his tight budget. He was so thankful and let me know that he would be taking his little ones on a movie date with the money that he would have spent on groceries.

And of course what would giving back be if we didn’t help our furry friends. Wauna CU staff member, Amy, chose the Clastop County Animal Assistance Program:

I chose CAA because a year ago today we brought our new family member home, her name is Lucy. Lucy was a hard-luck case, we are home number 5, and when she started to act erratically and aggressive a few days after coming to live with us we were very concerned. Most shelters, would have put Lucy down, instead, the CCA paid for Lucy to spend a week with a dog trainer at Hammond Kennel who also gave us books to read on dog behavior problems and how to correct them and we came in for personal lessons. Today, Lucy is a wonderful “furson”, we are so thankful they didn’t let us give up on Lucy, and helped us help her become the wonderful girl she is today. I can honestly say, I love Lucy!

Giving back generates purpose, and meaning, and positive reinforcement. Our communities have given us so much over the years, and we make a living off of what we get. But as Winston Churchill said, “We make a life by what we give.”

This month, keep an eye out for The Power of Giving, as Wauna CU’s force of do-gooders covers our communities, making people’s days brighter, and returning some of the love that all of you have brought to us.

Credit Unions Worldwide Celebrate International Credit Union Day (ICU Day)

“Those who are happiest are those who do the most for others.” ― Booker T. Washington

Today ― together with some 68,000 credit unions, spanning 109 countries, serving 235 million members ― Wauna Credit Union celebrates ICU Day. Whether a member is rich or poor, from a village or city, credit unions are on duty 24/7, across cultures and languages, helping others realize their dreams.

We call this “The Credit Union Difference”.

When did this start? Well, in 1948 (the year when the first tape recorder was sold and fare on the NYC subway cost 10 cents) the Credit Union National Association (CUNA) established a national “Credit Union Day”. Fast forward 69 years to today’s aptly-named “Dreams Thrive Here” celebration.

“Dreams Thrive Here” spotlights how Credit Unions are transforming goals into realities. It is this community commitment that separates us from banks. Because we are different…very different…both in philosophy and structure.

And in the spirit of ICU Day, let’s recognize all credit unions for the roles they play. Think of the people who would have been unable to afford homes, businesses, or education without credit unions. Together, we are helping people overcome challenges.

Wauna Credit Union opened its doors in 1967 with a mission to help others. Our mission hasn’t changed: we are providing opportunities for our members to build their financial well-being. With your support, Wauna Credit Union has grown to over 24,000 members.

Overall, it is your recognition of the contributions that credit unions make that is beyond awesome it’s superhero status. We thank YOU for joining us in celebrating ICU Day.

One smile per member, one member at a time, Wauna Credit Union will continue working around the clock to build a stronger world.

We look forward to serving you, and we look forward to serving your family, for many dreams to come.


Serving Our Communities: Funds Raised For Clatsop Community Action

During the last quarter of 2016, Wauna Credit Union staff raised more than $2500 for Clatsop Community Action.  Depending on the year, we have changed charities quarterly or annually. Staff nominates and vote on each organization we support. It is part of the Credit Union culture to support our communities through volunteering and donations, and it carries down from the very top to our front line staff. One of the reasons many of us have chosen to work for a financial cooperative is the philosophy of “people helping people” and our desire to make a positive difference in the communities around us and the world.

For part of 2016, Wauna Credit Union raised money for Clatsop Community

Robert Blumberg, Amy Stocky and Debi Smiley presents a check for $2,543.20 to Elaine Bruce and Viviana Matthews of CCA
Wauna CU presents the check to CCA

Action (CCA). Clatsop Community Action is an incredible organization in Clatsop County that helps fund the food bank, they offer energy assistance for people when money is tight, whether it be a seasonal layoff, sudden unemployment, or just not earning enough. They help low income workers get needed items, offer training programs, and even find housing for those without any. They do so much in the community, it is impossible to imagine Clatsop County without them!

It was with great pride and deep gratitude, that we presented Clatsop Community Action’s tireless director Elaine Bruce with a check for $2,543.20, and more than 50 pounds of personal care items for those who need them. It is great knowing all of these funds will be used to help people in Clatsop County.

The tourism economy, which is a major part of Clatsop County’s business, can be Wauna CU CEO Robert Blumberg and CCA Executive Director Elaine Brucea volatile way to live for those who work within it, much like fishing, it is seasonal. Tourism industry work consists of many low paying jobs – food service, retail, and hotel housekeeping, these jobs typically pay minimum wage with few, if any, benefits. It can be hard to make ends meet. Luckily, CCA is here to help people when ends don’t meet, when the off season lasts just too long, or when bad luck has knocked good people off their feet. CCA is also mostly volunteer run.

The money goes towards CCA clients who have no money for critical items such as diapers, toothbrushes, bus passes, replacing lost identifications needed for job searches and other emergency services that are not served due to limits placed on grant funds do not allow.  Many families have children and are living in their cars or a shelter with little or no money to live on.

Our fundraising is done through a variety of methods, some employees allow for an automatic deduction from each paycheck to go to the charity fund year-round. We also do “Jeans Days” on paydays, in which every employee wearing jeans puts $5 into the fund. Another fundraiser is “Spirit Days”, when on non-payday Fridays staff is encouraged to wear various themed attire, in December every Friday had a special theme, including wearing elf or Santa hats, wearing Silver and Gold, or jerseys of a favorite team. When members see staff dressed down in this clothing or in jeans, they can rest assured, our staff is being philanthropic!

Other ways we raise money for our charities are staff raffles, silent auctions, and with the candy we sell at the teller windows. All of the money raised from the candy sales go right to our charity fund. Occasionally, we enter members and staff into raffles for sporting event tickets or weekends at the beach if they donate a certain amount into our charity fund.

Thank you CCA for all that you do in our community, and for all the people you work so hard to help!

Board of Directors Voting Open

Whenever we talk about Wauna Credit Union and what we do it comes back to the members. Anybody who has an account, loan or credit card at Wauna CU is a member and a shareholder, and gets a say in what we do. Nowhere is that more tangible than with the voting for our board of directors. Today through February 26, 2017 all members age 18 or older who are in good standing are eligible to cast a ballot, either online, by mail or on Facebook.

Unlike for profit banks, where maximizing dividends for stockholders is most important, a credit union’s board sets policies to make sure decisions are in the best interests of you, the member-owners. Wauna Credit Union’s board consists of dedicated volunteers who represent the interests of the member-owners by meeting regularly with credit union management. This year we are electing three people, each of whom will serve a 3-year term.

As an added incentive 10 random voters will win $50 as a thanks from us for helping make sure our board reflects the wants and aspirations of all our members.

To learn more about the elections, as well as our annual meeting where we will announce the new board, visit our annual election page (waunafcu.org/about/annual-elections). Each of the candidates has provided a few words on why they want to serve on the voting page (cuballot.com/waunafcu).

There are three ways to vote.

To vote by electronic ballot:

  • Go to the Wauna CU website (waunafcu.org)
  • Click the link for the 2017 Board of Directors Elections
  • Select the Vote Now button and follow the instructions now

To vote by mail:

  • Call 877-597-9507
  • Select the option to vote by paper ballot
  • All ballots must be received by February 26

To vote on Facebook:

We hope everybody gets a chance to vote. The more members vote, the more opportunity to have a board that fully represents the membership, and the better Wauna Credit Union is able to meet the needs of our diverse community.

Wauna Credit Union Proudly Supports Local Backpack Program

Wauna Credit Union officials, church members, and volunteers hold the giant check for the Backpack Program

Recently, Wauna Credit Union celebrated a successful staff fundraiser with the presentation of a giant check. The check for $6486.42 was presented to the Clatskanie Baptist Church for the Backpack Program they organized at several local schools. While every organization Wauna Credit Union staff votes to fund-raise for does amazing work, the Backpack Program was especially close to many of our hearts.

The Backpack Program helps fight childhood hunger in America by supplying children in need with a backpack of prepared, or easy to prepare food, to sustain them over the weekend. Many children in America must rely on free school lunch and breakfast programs in order to eat on a daily basis, so this can make for a long and painful weekend if they live in a home without enough food. It is terribly sad to think about and abhorrent in a nation such as America.

Wauna Credit Union’s Jenifer Katon nominated the cause. She found out about the program and the great work they were doing, and was disheartened to learn there was a waiting list for kids. The waiting list meant that all the children in need would line up on Fridays and organizers would hand out as many bags as they could, this left many children walking away empty handed!

Jenifer decided the Backpack Program needed to benefit from our fundraising immediately, so instead of the money accruing in an account, she gave it out as it came in. Almost immediately, all children were off the waiting list so no one had to go home empty handed. Then, the program was able to expand to another school and another.

In total, the program was able to serve 5 local schools, and give out thousands of meals to children through the last school year, and even into the upcoming one! It was a huge boost for all of us on the Wauna Credit Union staff to hear how the program was growing and serving more and more children in Clatskanie and St Helens each month.

Of course our staff benefitted too through the many raffles that offered cash, sports tickets, and even a beach weekend getaway with the beach house donated for the cause by the amazing folks at Paulson Printing. There was an auction, payroll deductions, “Jeans Days”, and plenty of in branch candy sales, which helped everyone’s sweet tooth, members and staff alike.

Oftentimes members will buy a chocolate bar or a lollipop as a quick snack or in support of “the cause”, but without understanding what that cause even is or where that money is really going. Everyone who gave into the craving for a chocolate pretzel or other treat should be proud of themselves that the pretzel they munched on helped a hungry child to eat on the weekend. Thanks to all who support our staff fundraisers, they do so much more than you realize.

If you want to volunteer or donate money to the Backpack Program, please contact The Clatskanie Baptist Church.

Congratulations to our 2016 scholarship recipients!

josie robertsAt Wauna Credit Union, we pride ourselves on serving our communities the very best that we can. One of the ways we do this is by annually offering scholarships to local student members in an effort to help them afford their higher education goals. We welcome previous winners to apply annually also.


IMG_3960The scholarships are awarded based on a variety of criteria including need, academics, community activity, plus essays we ask them to write.

Learn more about our scholarship program on our website: https://waunafcu.org/annual-scholarship.shtml

Below are the 2016 recipients, we are so proud of them and look forward to seeing them progress in their lives and careers!

large chart


What is “Thanks A Latte”?


Support The Credit Union Movement!

Thanks A Latte launches to support Credit Unions

July is CULAC month in the world of Credit Unions, but what does that mean?

CULAC stands for the Credit Union Legislative Action Council, they work to influence our leaders in Washington DC to protect the rights – and the very existence – of Credit Unions against the powerful lobbyists from banks.

This year, we are encouraging our members to donate via “Thanks A Latte”, which asks you to donate $3 or more to CULAC. To make donating easy, we have “Thanks A Latte” boxes and envelopes in every branch of WaunaCU for that purpose.

Wauna Credit Union strongly supports CULAC and their grassroots efforts to keep Credit Unions alive, thriving, and part of the fabric of America. Please support this organization if you can.

Thank You!

Want to know more about what CULAC does? Check out this video:


From the CUNA Website (http://www.cuna.org/Grassroots-And-Political-Action/CULAC/What-Is-CULAC):

CULAC’s purpose, as defined in its Articles of Association, is to “provide the opportunity for individuals interested in the future of the credit union movement to contribute to the support of worthy candidates for federal office who believe, and have demonstrated their belief, in the principles to which the industry is dedicated.”

CULAC accomplishes its mission by contributing to and supporting federal candidates and committees that support the Credit Union Movement. It is your continued involvement, support and dedication that provides us with the resources to elect credit union advocates to Congress.


Backpack Program offers children in need food on the weekends

backbackprogrampicIt’s hard to believe that in America, the richest nation in the world, children are going hungry. Sadly, that is a hard truth in the world today. Even in our own communities there are many children living below the poverty line, and while schools work hard to make sure all children are eating enough during the week, there’s still the weekend.

2013-BackpackIn Clatskanie and St Helens, concerned people got together and began a chapter of what is known as The Backpack Program. The Backpack Program provides school children with a backpack of food every Friday, so they will not go hungry on Saturday and Sunday.

We found out these participating schools had waiting lists for children because so many more were in need than they could serve. This meant children would line up on Friday, and they would pass out as many backpacks as they could, and after they ran out, the kids at the end of the line just went home empty handed. This literally broke our hearts.

Hearing about this wonderful program and their waiting list, Wauna Credit Union staff took action! All across our service area our staff donated money, sold candy, and raffled prizes. Some employees even set up automatic payroll deductions to assist this amazing cause!  Members participated too, by buying candy at our branches and donating to be part of raffles for a beach weekend and Trailblazers tickets.

We have raised money since the beginning of the year, and as school comes to a close for the summer, we are proud to say, there is no more waiting list! All of the needy children at the participating schools are getting backpacks of food every Friday, the program was even able to expand to the high school to help older kids who need it.

As the fundraiser comes to a close, we are helping more than 120 children and have donated more than $5500 to assist the caring volunteers who organized this program, purchase food, and come in to fill backpacks every week. We are so proud to help in this smallest of ways!

If you know of a great program that could use help, please let us know. Or, if you would like to start a Backpack Program at your school, we are glad to put you in touch with the organizers we worked with. It’s the small acts of kindness that can really change the world, and the acts of regular people trying to make a difference. We at Wauna Credit Union try to honor our communities every single day!