Rivermark CCU, Lighthouse CCU merger will benefit members of both credit unions

The merger has been a work in progress that was first started last July

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The members of Lighthouse Community Credit Union, based in Vancouver, voted by an overwhelming majority to merge with Rivermark Community Credit Union on May 27. The merger officially took effect on June 1.

With one single branch location at 1910 West Fourth Plain Blvd., in Vancouver, Lighthouse Community Credit Union members will see plenty of benefits as a result of the recent merger.

David Noble, senior vice president of marketing with Rivermark, and Cori Poland, chief eXperience officer with Rivermark, said that Lighthouse members will benefit from the new convenience and access they will have to their accounts, as well as a wider array of options for businesses. Rivermark has nine branch locations across Oregon and Southwest Washington, all of which Lighthouse members will now be able to access their accounts at.

Another new benefit to Lighthouse members is Rivermark’s expanded online services. Noble said their online banking platform is much more robust and includes video banking, personal teller kiosks and more. These online banking services have made it possible for Rivermark to offer extended service hours, enabling them to operate Monday-Friday, 8 a.m.-8 p.m., and Saturdays from 10 a.m.-6 p.m.

Poland and Noble said Rivermark first started offering video banking in October of last year, and it was already something they had been planning to implement prior to the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Rivermark has been a forward-thinking company for a long time,” Noble said. “So, we were really quite prepared for the pandemic. We were one of the first (financial institutions) to have mobile deposit, and there are a lot of other things we’ve had leading the way in regards to technology.

Through video banking, Rivermark members can pretty much do everything with the exception of cash transactions. Poland said the video banking also has screen-sharing abilities, enabling people to ask questions about certain documents, etc.

In regards to benefits to Rivermark members, Poland said the credit union has more than 6,000 members in Vancouver. This merger now allows those members to utilize the Lighthouse location, starting Aug. 2.

“We were also able to retain all of the Lighthouse staff, and we are excited to have the Lighthouse staff as Rivermark staff,” Poland said. “They’ll be spending the new couple of months getting into training.”

Poland also said they hired one additional staff member, and they are always constantly evaluating their video banking volume and the kiosks to ensure they have adequate staffing for those.

“Mergers can occur for lots of different reasons, sometimes due to financial stress, etc., but in this case, our missions (Lighthouse and Rivermark) were just very aligned,” Poland said. “Lighthouse has been very involved in the community and with financial empowerment and we just had great alignment with Lighthouse. It was great to come together.”

Credit Union Merger Facts:

  • Funds will continue to be federally insured by the National Credit Union Administration (NCUA), an agency of the federal government, up to $250,000 per member.
  • Rivermark Community Credit Union and Lighthouse Community Credit Union are local not-for-profit, member-owned financial cooperatives, run by boards of directors elected from their membership.
  • Rivermark Community Credit Union was organized in 1951 by grocery store employees and today serves over 85,000 members.
  • Lighthouse Community Credit Union was organized in 1953 by paper mill employees and today serves 1,800 members.
  • Rivermark was originally formed by 140 grocery store employees who formed Safeway Portland Employees Federal Credit Union.  In 2004, the Credit Union was approved for a community charter and changed its name to Rivermark Community Credit Union.
  • On April 30, 2021, Rivermark’s assets totaled $1.2 billion and Lighthouse Community Credit Union’s assets totaled $14 million.

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Joanna Yorke is the managing editor of the Vancouver Business Journal. She has worked in the journalism field since 2010 after graduating from the Edward R. Murrow College of Communication at Washington State University in Pullman. Yorke worked at The Reflector Newspaper in Battle Ground for six years and then worked at and helped start ClarkCountyToday.com.