Richland-based credit union to break ground on Vancouver branch

A rending of HAPO Community Credit Union's new Vancouver branch, which is scheduled to open early next year.

HAPO Community Credit Union, a Richland-based credit union with more than 150,000 members, will break ground on its first branch in Southwest Washington later this month.

The groundbreaking ceremony, which is open to the public, is scheduled for June 29 at 11:30 a.m. at the site of the new branch, 13909 SE Mill Plain Blvd. in Vancouver.

Crystal Contreras, communications director for HAPO, said the Vancouver branch represents an opportunity to build on a customer base that’s already established.

“We service many members in the Vancouver area because a lot of our business is in auto loans,” said Contreras. “We’ve worked with the [auto] dealerships over the years and have been able to create that relationship with them to grow our business over there. It made sense for us to grow that way.”

In addition to auto loans, HAPO services a range of other financial needs. Earlier this year, the credit union launched a commercial services division focused on small business lending.

“We built it (the commercial services division) from the ground up and our staff in that division has been in the industry for many years,” said Contreras. “As a credit union, we plan on growing [business lending] with our goals in sight.”

HAPO currently operates 17 branches in Washington and Oregon, but the Vancouver financial center will mark the credit union’s first location west of the Cascades.

Constructed by Seattle-based Momentum Inc., the 10,000-square-foot facility will pursue WELL Building Standard Certification, a holistic building design approach that focuses on human health and well-being.

“We actively look for ways to improve the communities we serve,” said Steve Anderson, HAPO president & CEO, in a press release. “Our building strategy will take this to a whole new level. We are extremely excited to welcome the public and our new members here.”

The Vancouver branch is expected to open during the first quarter of 2018.

HAPO, which stands for Hanford Atomic Products Operations, was formed by a group of non-exempt workers at the Hanford nuclear site in 1953.