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The Spokesman-Review Newspaper
Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883

New STCU location to focus on homebuyers, mortgage loans

The new STCU Home Loan Center at 9207 E. Mission Ave. (Kathy Plonka / The Spokesman-Review)

Spokane Teachers Credit Union is expanding in Spokane Valley with the opening of its first stand-alone center to serve growing consumer demand for home loans.

STCU’s Argonne Home Loan Center at 9207 E. Mission Ave. will assist customers in all aspects of the home loan process.

Although transactions at the loan center are limited to mortgage lending, the building includes two drive-thru ATMS available to any STCU member or credit union members participating in the CO-OP Network – a shared branch network of more than 5,000 credit unions nationwide.

“It’s a good central location,” STCU spokesman Dan Hansen said. “Also, because the ATMs are there, it helps out the West Valley community to be able to do their transactions.”

STCU’s home loan sales manager, Trina Murphy, who has 30 years of home lending experience, will lead staff at the Argonne Home Loan Center.

“Everybody there is geared up to help with home loans,” Hanson said. “This is a place where you will walk in the door and you know everyone there is able to help you with that need.”

STCU was founded by educators in 1934 and is a member-owned, nonprofit cooperative with more than 182,000 members and 22 locations, including the Argonne Home Loan Center.

STCU purchased the 2 1/2-acre home loan center site near Argonne Road and Mission Avenue in 2012 for close to $1.5 million, according to the Spokane County Assessor’s Office.

The credit union extensively remodeled an 1970s era building with more than $900,000 in improvements, according to permits filed with the city. It also remodeled and upgraded an adjacent building with several suites that are leased to small businesses.

Spokane Valley-based Meridian Construction Inc. was the general contractor for the more than 2,500-square-foot loan center. Meridian recently completed construction of an STCU branch at the Hayford Crossing Shopping Center in Airway Heights.

In November, STCU will open the Southridge Financial and Home Loan Center in the Tri-Cities. The Kennewick full-service branch will include a dedicated space to meet real estate needs for customers.

Tukwila, Washington-based BECU opened its first mortgage-only retail facility earlier this month in Spokane Valley. The 3,100-square-foot office provides real estate lending, hosts classes and connects homebuyers and Realtors.

Credit unions are seeing growth on both local and national levels as more consumers switch from traditional banks.

About 50 percent of Washington residents belong to a credit union, according to data from the Northwest Credit Union Association. Last year, credit unions gained 417,000 new members and hired 326,000 new employees, according to CUNA Mutual Group’s 2018 Credit Union Trends Report.

Credit unions are tuned into needs of their members and new home loan centers are meeting the demand for real estate lending services, said Lynn Heider, spokeswoman for the Northwest Credit Union Association.

Although consumers are able to apply for home loans online, they still are choosing to visit brick-and-mortar branches, Heider said.

“Sometimes they want that face-to-face contact to discuss the home loan process and get the best service that they can,” she said. “When consumers are making a purchase like a home, it could be the most expensive purchase in their life.”

Heider said about 900 real estate loans closed in Spokane Valley in June.

“That’s a lot of demand and they are trying to answer it,” she said. “Both (STCU and BECU) are wonderful. They provide great service when it comes to real estate loans.”