After several years with no office in Inner Southeast, Advantis Credit Union opens one in Woodstock

ELIZABETH USSHER GROFF - Although their branch opening was still months away, Advantis employees came out last June to help with Woodstocks annual Community Cleanup. From left:  Diane Thompson-Alvarez, John Nichols, Wendy Edwards, Kyleigh Gill, Amber Hollingsworth, Matt Civis (now the Branch Manager), and Jeff Nunamaker.  The Woodstock business district has become rich in banks. The district has three banks and, as of the New Year, it also has two credit unions. OnPoint and Advantis Credit Unions have opened branches one month and one block apart.

OnPoint Community Credit Union had its grand opening in December in the Woodstock Safeway, as detailed in an article in this issue of THE BEE. Now, as of late January, Advantis Credit Union has opened a full-service branch at 4235 S.E. Woodstock Boulevard, in the former space of the Bike Gallery, which moved to Westmoreland.

The Advantis Woodstock Branch originally planned to open in late summer, then in early fall, but permits and building renovations made for delays. The building had not been renovated for many years, and several changes and technology enhancements required extra time.

When asked why the Woodstock location was chosen, Matt Civis, Branch Manager of the new Woodstock Advantis said, "Advantis serves many members in Southeast Portland, and we wanted a centrally located site that was part of a growing and engaged community like Woodstock." Civis added that the Beckwith family that ran Beckwith Bicycles for many years (before the Bike Gallery) gave Advantis support and encouragement to move into what is still a Beckwith-owned building.

The history of Advantis is all very local in Inner Southeast Portland and Milwaukie. In 2005 two local credit unions merged to form Advantis. The Rose City of Oregon Federal Credit Union merged with Electra Central that had been chartered in Milwaukie in 1928. The Advantis building on S.E. 17th Avenue in the Brooklyn Neighborhood had been there for many years – under different names – serving especially many nearby PGE and Union Pacific Railroad members. That office was recently removed for MAX light rail construction. So, after an interval in which its nearest office was on Belmont Street, the new Woodstock Branch again provides a convenient location for area members.

All credit unions are nonprofit, and so have a commitment to the community in which they are located. Advantis has chosen to exemplify this with a "Woodstock Community Grant Program" to be featured at their Grand Opening on February 9th and 10th. Participants in the program include the PTAs of Duniway, Lewis, and Woodstock Elementary Schools, as well as the Friends of the Woodstock Community Center, and the "Woodstock Street Art Project".

Members will be invited to place a vote for their own school or nonprofit, at $5.00 for each vote. Advantis will award a combined total of $5,000 to the selected organizations.

"Advantis gives back to the community both through volunteer service and through grants and sponsorships, and the Woodstock Community Grant is a fun way to involve the public in our funding decisions," says Kyleigh Gill, Community Relations Manager for Advantis.

When asked how credit unions differ from traditional banks, Civis, the Branch Manager, answers: "Advantis [founded in 1928] is a not-for-profit financial cooperative, and we're governed by a Board of Directors made up entirely of Advantis members who have been elected by our members. Our members won't walk out the door with a product or service that isn't appropriate for them."

Advantis, he adds, also has a new online "Financial Education Center", where viewers can watch short and interactive videos on a variety of topics, including Savings & Budget, Loans & Credit Scores, Home Buying & Mortgages, Retirement, Investments & Insurance, Taxes, and Student Loans & College Savings.

The Grand Opening celebration is set for Friday, February 9th, 9 a.m.-6p.m., and Saturday, February 10th, 10 a.m.-2 p.m.

For more information about the credit union, or the Woodstock Community Grant Program, contact Kyleigh Gill at 503/785-2548, or email – This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

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