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Results from Spokane Teachers Credit Union e-statement challenge

You may recall that Spokane Teachers Credit Union invited members
, from Earth Day (April 22) to June 30, to change their paper statements to fast e-statements. The hitch was that for every paper statement members converted to e-statements, STCU promised to buy a tree for a local reforestation project.

The results came back and they are pretty impressive. In less than 10 weeks, members switched more 1,708 month-end statements.

- 1,708 new trees ready to be planted along local waterways.

- Reduction of 41,000 sheets of paper, enough to form a ribbon seven miles long.

- Nearly $1,000 saved on stamps, envelopes, and printing of paper statements.

Spokane Teachers Credit Union helps tree planting effort with the Lands Council

I'm a little late in reporting this Earth Day news but last Monday the Spokane Teachers Credit Union launched a cool campaign for members who want to switch to paper-saving electronic account statements. Why is it so cool other than simply saving paper?  It will actually help plant trees. 

From STCU: For every member who makes the switch from paper statements to e-statements between April 22 and June 30, STCU will donate the money to plant one tree along Deep Creek, Coulee Creek and Hangman Creek (also called Latah Creek). Work will be done in North Idaho, as well, although exact locations have not been selected.

The work is being organized by the Lands Council, which hopes to plant 5,000 trees through its Project SUSTAIN. STCU hopes enough members make the switch to e-statements by June 30 to provide at least 1,000 of those trees.

Up to 400 Inland Northwest high school students will help plant the trees, said Amanda Swan, Lands Council director of development and communications. Students from Mead Alternative School, The Community School, On Track Academy, Lewis and Clark High School, Coeur d’Alene High School and Post Falls High School and St. Maries High School will participate.

STCU’s Valley branch offers Valley’s first auto charging station

Spokane Valley's first 240-volt charging station for electric cars.

Spokane Teachers Credit Union gets into the game, announcing its new South Valley location will feature an electric car charging station.

The Valley branch, at 13211 E. 32nd, will offer a  240-volt charging station for electric cars. It's called the first charging station in Spokane Valley.

That station goes live on Monday Dec. 12.

A release from STCU notes the charge station, paired with two parking spaces reserved for electric cars or chargeable hybrids, is one of a number of green features in the new branch. Others include:

  • Panels that at times will generate a surplus of power.
  • A rooftop and parking lot that reflect heat, rather than absorbing it.
  • A shower for employees who walk or pedal to work. (It's also situated on a bus route.)
  • Lights and a heating system that are highly energy efficient.
  • A no-smoking policy that includes the parking lot.

Spokane's Nystrom+Olson Architecture designed the 3,496-square-foot branch to meet U.S. Green Building Council standards for LEED Gold certification for sustainable building and development practices.

STCU opens a new Valley branch

Spokane Teachers Credit Union just broke ground for its 15th area branch, near University High School.

The new branch, at 13211 E. 32nd, will be open later this year, according to a press release.

It will be the second STCU branch in Spokane Valley.

Baker Construction & Development is contractor for the 3,496-square-foot branch, which is designed to meet U.S. Green Building Council standards for LEED Gold certification for sustainable building and development practices.

Designed by Nystrom+Olson Architecture, the building will have craftsman-style elements.

The release noted Spokane Valley's population of 91,836 is anticipated to grow by roughly 16,000 in the next 20 years.

STCU branches will be closed on Friday for computer conversion

Spokane's STCU bank branches will be closed Friday, in order to install a new customer-friendly computer system.

ATMs, credit union debit cards and credit cards will function normally throughout the weekend.

Direct deposits and bill payments already scheduled online will be processed normally.

All other banking and online processing will be disrupted from Thursday night through Sunday, April 3. And shared branching at other credit unions may be unavailable during the conversion, a press release said.

The system being replaced went into operation in 1985. 

The new system is called a PhoenixEFE. The press release noted that the conversion process, including planning and testing, began more than 1,200 days ago. 

Man sentenced for robbing credit union

A bank robber turned in by his girlfriend's mother will spend about two years in prison.

Eric C. Mason, 42, was sentenced to 28 months and will be credited for 166 days served in the Spokane County Jail after pleading guilty Wednesday to second-degree robbery, second-degree assault and first-degree theft.

Mason robbed the Spokane Teachers Credit Union, 8703 N. Indian Trail Road, on April 23. He did not display a weapon.

girlfriend's mother told police her daughter drove him to the robbery, leading to Mason's arrest in August.

Mason's public defender, Anna Nordtvedt, asked for him to receive 22 months; Deputy Prosecutor James Kaufman called for 29 months. Superior Court Judge Maryann Moreno handled the sentencing.

Mason has previous felony convictions for drugs and burglary in Whatcom County in 2004. He is in jail awaiting transport to prison.

Nursery, Food Bank get $1,000 from STCU

The Vanessa Behan Crisis Nursery and Second Harvest Food Bank will each receive $1,000 from Spokane Teachers Credit Union.

The two charities outpolled 126 others who were nominated at the Greater Spokane Incorporated annual meeting Wednesday.

Attendees named the charity they wanted funded by STCU, which put “Who do you love” nomination cards at every place setting.

STCU spokeswoman Breanne O’Doherty said 582 cards were filled out, and 128 charities nominated.


Girlfriend’s mom turns in robbery suspect

A man suspected of robbing a north Spokane credit union was turned in to police by his girlfriend’s mother. 

Eric C. Mason, 41, pleaded not guilty this morning to first-degree robbery, more than four months after police say he handed a threatening note to a teller at Spokane Teachers Credit Union, 8703 N. Indian Trail Road, then fled with about $1,200. 

Surveillance photos from the April 23 robbery showed a man with a black jacket and black knit cap.

Police say Mason’s driver’s license photo matched the robber’s image; detectives looked at it after Mason’s girlfriend mother called and said her daughter drove Mason to the robbery.

Mason later admitted to his girlfriend that he’d robbed the credit union, police said. He didn’t display a weapon but wrote in the note: “Put money in envelope do not alarm! No dye pac’s no tracking devices! No problems,” according to court documents.

Mason reportedly told his girlfriend he planned to turn himself in, but Spokane police Lt. Dave McGovern said he left town instead.

A warrant was issued May 4; Mason was booked into Spokane County Jail Aug. 20, where he remains after his arraignment in Spokane County Superior Court this morning.

FBI hunts for bicycle-riding bank robber

A masked gunman believed to have robbed six banks since December still is being sought by the FBI. 

A noon-hour armed robbery at the Indian Trail branch of the Spokane Teacher Credit Union last Wednesday is similar to others heists attributed to a man who usually flees on a bicycle.

“It’s likely to be the same individual, although we are still actively investigating,” said FBI supervisory senior resident agent Frank Harrill. 

The suspected serial robber last struck May 25 at U.S. Bank, 621 E. 30th Ave., about 11:30 a.m., prompting lockdowns at nearby Sacajawea Middle School and Jefferson Elementary School.

The crime spree is believed to have started Dec. 22 at Sterling Savings Bank, 3000 S. Grand Blvd., then continued Feb. 13 (top left) and April 19 (right) at Chase Bank, 2215 W. Northwest Blvd. 

On May 18, the gunman wore a motorcycle helmet (left)and forced an employee at Chase Bank, 3007 E. 57th Ave., to the floor at gunpoint. 

Witnesses in at least one of the robberies said the gunman appeared to be familiar with how banks operate and knew which cash drawers to request.

The robber is described as white, 6-feet tall, in his 30s with a thin-to-medium build and fair complexion.

Anyone with information is asked to call the FBI’s Spokane office at (509) 747-5195, extension 2. If it’s after hours, call (206) 622-0460.

Dahlstrom will hand STCU reins to Tom Johnson

Spokane Teachers Credit Union on Thursday announced Vice President Tom Johnson will take over as CEO when Steven L. Dahlstrom (in photo) retires in December.

On May 24, Johnson will be promoted to executive vice president, in preparation for the handoff of the CEO reins.

Dahlstrom has been with STCU, one of the area’s fastest growing financial institutions, for 30 years, 20 as president and CEO.

Johnson came to STCU after serving as vice president at Whitworth University from 1989 through 2006.

He formally takes the reins on Jan. 1.

Picture shows Spokane credit union robber

A man robbed the Spokane Teachers Credit Union branch on Indian Trail Road this afternoon.

The man handed a teller a note shortly after 2:30 p.m. that said he had a gun, but he never displayed one, police said.

The robber left on foot with an undisclosed amount of cash. No one was injured.

Witnesses thought the robber may have headed north from the bank, at 8703 N. Indian Trail Road.

The robber is described as in his early 30s, white, between 5-foot-10 and 6 feet tall, with a thin-to-medium build. He wore a black windbreaker jacket, jeans and a black knit cap with a gray stripe around the rim.

Anyone with information is asked to call Crime Check at (509) 456-2233.

It’s the third robbery at a Spokane County financial institution this week.