Gesa Credit Union will open its 18th
branch this summer in Pasco.
Construction on the $2 million project
already has begun on the two-acre plot of land at 4824 Broadmoor Blvd.
Kennewick-based Banlin Construction is
the general contractor for the project.
“We’re all framed up and we’re working
on roofing at this point,” said Richard Waddle, Gesa’s senior vice president of
finance and marketing.
The new branch will be about 7,000
square feet, with 3,000 square feet allocated for full-service banking and a
The remaining 4,000 square feet within
the building will consist of two tenant units available for lease.
“We’re going to be doing short-term
leases on those units because if we need to add more home loan and mortgage
officers, we’ll be able to move into that space,” Waddle said.
Dromos Architecture LLC in Wenatchee
designed the building, which is similar in style to the Gesa branches in Moses
Lake and Yakima.
Gesa has begun to hire a management
team for the new location. About seven to eight full-time employees will be
hired for the branch.
The credit union has experienced
tremendous growth since opening in 1953, especially in the last 13 years, said
Waddle, who joined the team straight out of college in 1996.
“I graduated on a Saturday and started
at Gesa on a Monday,” he said with a laugh.
At that time, Gesa had only a handful
of branches. Today the landscape in the Tri-Cities in much different.
“And we’ve also grown outside the
Tri-Cities. The first place was Wenatchee and Walla Walla. Those were both
merger opportunities,” Waddle said. “A lot of our moving to new communities has
been through mergers, and we love to do it that way because you have a built-in
membership base—anywhere from 1,500 to 3,000. And typically, within one to two
years, we’ve doubled their asset base.”
Although the Road 100 location is not a
merger, it was a necessity for the west Pasco area, Waddle said. Gesa bought
the land before buying the property for its Road 68 branch in anticipation of
the residential and commercial growth in the vicinity.
“We’ve bought the Road 100 property
knowing that area would take off, then something opened up on Road 68 and
Sandifur (Parkway),” said Waddle, adding that the Road 68 location has been one
of the company’s fastest growing branches. “We’re at the point where on a
Friday afternoon there’s no parking for our members and the drive-thru lane is
Adding the Road 100 location should
alleviate the swell of business at the Road 68 branch, he explained.
Gesa’s headquarters at 51 Gage Blvd. in
Richland also are undergoing $645,000 in improvements to accommodate growth,
including remodeling and relocating support team staff to better serve
“We’re basically tapped out the
headquarters,” Waddle said. “We have training rooms on the first floor, and
we’ve moved them to a different location and put home loan and commercial staff
on the first floor.”
Back-office staff, such as human resources, technology and
other support staff who aren’t face-to-face with customers will be moved to the
The Richland headquarters also will get new flooring and
paint during the transition.
Gesa was founded by General Electric, a
major contractor for the Hanford site. In 1997, the company became a
community-chartered credit union and opens its doors to serve anyone who lives,
works or worships in Washington state. Today, the credit union has more than
165,000 members, including thousands of members in western Washington.
Gesa is making its presence known even
more on the coastal side of the state with a merger that could be the largest
in Washington credit union history. This past fall, Gesa announced the merger
of Inspirus Credit Union based in Tukwila.
Inspirus was founded in 1936 and ranked
as the state’s second largest credit union by 1960. The company has six
locations, $1.3 billion in assets and 80,000 members.
Gesa has 30,000 members living in
western Washington, and Waddle said this merger would allow Gesa to better
serve customers with the additional locations Inspirus branches would provide.
“If the merger comes to fruition, it
will really give us a statewide presence,” Waddle said. “Over time, we want to
become a Pacific Northwest credit union.”
Regardless of where it is located,
Waddle acknowledged Gesa has no immediate plans to change its name.
“As long as you take care of your
members, you can go with any name,” he said.
Gesa is waiting on regulatory approval about the
merger with Inspirus, and the credit union hopes to make an announcement on the
decision by the end of this year.
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