The Spokane Law Enforcement Credit Union was originally organized on November 23, 1966 as Spokane Police Credit Union by nine police officers who signed 20 Articles of Bylaws to incorporate. On December 5, 1966 the state of Washington signed off as well and our Credit Union was officially incorporated.
Bob Owen laid the groundwork with the help of the Credit Union League representatives and other credit union managers. Our credit union started with Bob’s dollars - $50.25 – 25 cents was the cost to join, paying for supplies.
Bob would be at the front desk at shift changes trying to talk others into joining. “Just 5.25 for the deal of a lifetime” he would say. He talked Frank Blacker into joining as the second member and Mickey O’Brien as the third. Mickey also signed up as the first board member. Hershel Libey was the first president of the board – as soon as he could get his $5.25 together!
Bob had twenty plus members by this time. Now-he needed an office. He talked Chief Payne into the idea of using the “dirty-dusty” room on the unoccupied 7th floor of the Realty Building, which was the Police Station at the time. The first typewriter was a gift, as were all of the office supplies. Other credit unions were called upon to donate to “Bob’s” credit union.
The first annual meeting was held at the Inland Power & Light Building on 2nd Avenue. Refreshments were cases of “warm” beer donated by the Police Property Room and broken potato chips from Nalley’s.
There were only a handful of members at that first meeting, not enough for a quorum. Bob got on the phone and called the front desk – told them to get a wagon loaded with officers and send them right up – he needed “bodies” and he told them there was lots of free food!
The first withdrawal request was from Officer Tex Goodson and it met with stiff opposition from Bob. He told Tex, there was no way he could withdraw his money, just because he needed it; but, he would be glad to make him a loan. Bob made loans up to $100 and if you needed a larger amount (up to $500) you could go to the Police Beneficial Association.
It is truly amazing that one man could be so sure that a Police Credit Union was what was needed and then put forth all the effort to start it and make it go.
From that meager beginning, locations have changed, membership and assets have grown and our law enforcement membership has been expanded. However, our credit union remains a not-for-profit, member-owned, and democratically operated financial institution operated by people just like you. Although credit unions have changed over the years to meet the demands of their members, our long-standing philosophy of “People Helping People” has remained the same.
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