Pacific Crest Federal Credit Union opens branch in Christmas Valley
The new branch is providing a much-needed financial lifeline to residents in the rural area
CHRISTMAS VALLEY, OR (November 21, 2017) — For several years, residents of Christmas Valley, Oregon and surrounding communities in North Lake County had no local financial service options. The 60-mile trek to the nearest bank branch presented quite a challenge for those needing to deposit paychecks or conduct other financial transactions in person. Now, residents in the area have a local credit union branch.
Klamath Falls-based Pacific Crest Federal Credit Union (Pacific Crest FCU) celebrated the Grand Opening of its new branch in the heart of Christmas Valley on November 20.
Senator Jeff Merkley (D-OR), learned of the need for financial services options in Christmas Valley, and looked to credit unions for the solution.
“When Senator Merkley’s office reached out through the Northwest Credit Union Association regarding the needs of this community last year, we felt Pacific Crest might be able to serve the people who live in north Lake County,” said Chad Olney, Pacific Crest FCU’s President/CEO.
Access to financial services is a vital thread in the tapestry of any community “Credit unions across Oregon play a critical role in supporting our small businesses and rural economies,” said Sen. Merkley. “By opening this branch, Pacific Crest is bringing much needed reliable financial services and economic opportunity to the region.”
Also welcoming bricks-and-mortar services to north Lake County was Oregon State Sen. Dennis Linthicum (R – district 28) who helped to cut the ribbon.
Pacific Crest FCU’s decision to open a branch in Christmas Valley is consistent with credit unions’ not-for-profit, cooperative model that puts people’s needs first. In fact, a 2017 independent analysis by economists at ECONorthwest found that credit unions are often the only financial services lifeline in rural counties.
“While many out of state, for-profit financial services institutions have closed branches in rural communities, local credit unions remain committed to serving these populations,” the report noted. Credit Unions are present in 31 of Oregon’s 36 counties, serving 413,000 credit union members who live in rural areas.
The Christmas Valley branch, Olney says, meets consumers’ needs without creating a large footprint. The branch has two full-time employees and one part-timer who will serve members on site. Technology will also allow the members to video conference with Pacific Crest FCU loan officers in Klamath Falls—a financial opportunity the community has never experienced.
“We were fortunate that a lot of people in the community worked hard to bring fiber internet service to the area,” Olney said. “This enables us to provide high tech, and high touch services in North Lake County.”
Olney notes the new branch will also provide local access to financial services for the community’s businesses.
Olney says as he hoped the Christmas Valley branch model could serve as a blueprint that other credit unions can replicate as they work to provide financial opportunities to rural consumers in the Northwest.
About Pacific Crest Federal Credit Union
Pacific Crest Federal Credit Union is a Not-For Profit financial cooperative that has been headquartered in the Klamath Basin since 1936. Pacific Crest’s mission is to provide our members and communities with the opportunity to prosper through financial products, services, and education that expands what is possible for our members to achieve. Today Pacific Crest serves nearly 16,000 people throughout the region with branches in Klamath Falls, Lakeview, Alturas, and Christmas Valley. myPCFCU.org