Report to Membership 2018

To our members,

BECU was founded in 1935, when a small group of Boeing workers came together to pool what little money they could spare, and offered small loans to fellow employees for tools and other vital needs.

While much has changed in the past 80 years, the credit union spirit of “People Helping People" is as strong as ever. We remain focused on working together with you–our member-owners–to help you achieve your goals. At every step of your financial journey, we work to provide you better rates and fewer fees, relevant financial education and advice, and the right programs and products to help build a stronger financial foundation.

As a financial cooperative, we recognize that the health of our cooperative enables us to help you achieve your long-term goals. While growth is the outcome of focusing on our members’ needs, it is important that BECU’s growth is sustainable. We achieved just that goal last year and ended 2018 with 1,162,490 members (a 7.5 percent annual increase) and more than $19.6 billion in assets (a 10.1 percent annual increase).

Our growth meant we could reinvest profits back into the pockets of our members and communities:

  1. Returned $312 million to our members (an average of $277 per member) through better rates and fewer fees compared to bank averages.
  2. Saved almost 49,000 members more than $2.7 million through our loan Reprice program.
  3. Assisted members in purchasing 146 homes through our First-Time Homebuyer Grant program.
  4. Refunded out-of-network ATM fees for Member Advantage members and saved them over $5.1 million in out-of-network ATM surcharges.
  5. Raised interest rates for Money Market Accounts and Certificates of Deposit (CDs).

We also listened to you, and introduced new offerings that make it easier to plan for your finances and manage your money:

  1. Offered free membership to the Passport program for exclusive discounts.
  2. Increased accessibility to the BECU.org website.
  3. Updated your Online Banking experience by adding: Pause Your Debit Card and Travel Plan Notification.
  4. Enabled access to member accounts and current balances through Alexa.
  5. Opened four new Neighborhood Financial Centers (and remodeled one!) and a Spokane Home Loan Center.

In 2018, the credit union funded 196 community partners with grants totaling $5.7 million. These grants served the communities where our members and employees live, work and play, focusing on organizations working to improve the financial wellbeing of individuals and families. Our goals include helping individuals build their earning potential over time, empowering members to make smart money management decisions and caring for organizations that inspire our members and employees.

Our success as a financial cooperative is dependent on you, our member-owners. We appreciate your commitment to BECU, and we promise to remain committed to helping you reach your financial dreams. In the spirit of “People Helping People,” we are better together.

Susan Ehrlich, Chair, BECU Board of Directors

Benson Porter, President & Chief Executive Officer

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Cooperative Values

BECU started out in 1935 with a small group of Boeing employees, and today is a million-plus members strong with more than $19.6 billion in assets.

Our membership grew 7.5 percent last year, following similar strong year-over-year growth. We welcomed 123,613 new members to the BECU family — a little more than the population of Everett, Washington.

While we have grown over the years, what hasn’t changed is our “People Helping People” philosophy and our commitment to work for you, our members. That’s true whether you’re a 6-year-old opening your Early Saver savings account, a young couple building your savings for your first home, or a retired Boeing engineer enjoying benefits of planning and investing for retirement. We’re a financial cooperative sharing common values and financial health goals with our members. Together, we plan, save, spend and share.

I appreciate BECU’s personalized customer service and commitment to our local community. Community is very important to me, and BECU embodies just that." —Pamela C., BECU member

Return on Membership

In 2018, BECU’s healthy business ensured our ability to give back to our member-owners, a return on your loyalty to BECU. The credit union’s assets are now $19.6 billion, a 9.9 percent increase from the previous year. We appreciate that our well-being and sustainable growth depends on you – and should therefore benefit you as well.

So we lowered loan rates. We boosted CD interest rates. We refunded fees. We put you first. Last year, we returned more than $312 million to our members, or around $277 per member. Here’s how:

Funded Homeownership

We know how difficult it can be to gather enough money for a down payment, particularly for your first home. Early in 2018, we announced our $1 million grant to award eligible members with up to 2 percent of a down payment or closing costs through our First-Time Homebuyer Grant program. BECU delighted first-time homebuyers by helping them purchase 146 houses with an average grant of $5,289, providing a total of $772,241 in grants. The program was such a success that we’re helping even more people realize their homeownership dreams through additional grants in 2019.

Our goal with the First-Time Homebuyer Grant program is simple: to help more people become homeowners. Many of our members are qualified homebuyers, but they simply need help clearing the hurdle of a down payment." —Scott Strand, Executive Vice President & Chief Operations Officer

Lowered Interest Rates

BECU saved almost 49,000 members more than $2.7 million through our annual loan Reprice program. This program automatically lowers the interest rate of qualifying loans when a member’s credit score improves (if they’re not already receiving our lowest rate). Over the past 14 years, we’ve saved members more than $16.2 million through interest rate reductions.

Refunded ATM Fees

Despite 30,000 surcharge-free BECU and credit union network ATMs nationwide, we realize that sometimes members must use an out-of-network ATM. As of 2018, Member Advantage account holders have been reimbursed up to $6 per month for out-of-network ATM fees. We helped members regain $5.1 million in out-of-network ATM surcharge refunds.

Increase Your Gains

We raised our interest rates for Money Market accounts and CDs. Each dollar you put away now earns a little more. This is on top of our innovative offerings, including Veterans Family Fund CDs (which donate half your interest to veteran families) and Bump CDs (which allow you to raise your interest rate when the rates increase).

Waived Origination Fees

Most BECU mortgages for purchase and refinancing were origination-fee-free in 2018, which means more money for buying paint or furnishing your home.

My father had always been a fan of credit unions, and now I understand why. There’s not a single bank I can think of who could hold a candle to you." —Bruce L., BECU member

2018 Member Summit: More than a Meeting

On a sunny, warm evening on April 24, 2018, hundreds of BECU members met at Seattle Center’s McCaw Hall, enjoying light appetizers and desserts while attending breakout sessions focused on savvy financial moves.

Every year, the Member Summit is your opportunity to learn from financial educators, ask questions of BECU leaders, attend the annual membership meeting, join the credit union in assisting our communities and discover how we can serve you better. Members can join us in person, participate through the online livestream or watch the event recording at their convenience.

2018 Breakout Sessions:

  • Home Buying 101
  • 10 Most Common Retirement Planning Mistakes
  • Estate Planning – What Everyone Needs to Know
  • What to Consider When Starting a Business
  • Life After Tax Reform: What You Need to Know
  • Executive Forum with BECU Executives
I love that BECU holds this event every year. I always feel more connected to the credit union and feel even more proud to be a member after attending. Thank you for everything you do!" —Anonymous BECU member

Helping You, Every Day

Whether you’re in the Puget Sound area, the Spokane Valley or South Carolina, we understand you want to see a friendly face when you open a joint checking account, apply for a car loan or replace a debit card. You’re not alone. BECU employees helped members in our Neighborhood Financial Centers more than 2.1 million times in 2018.

We know you’re busy and want to access your money when it is most convenient for you. We interacted with members more than 2.6 million times last year over the phone, email and secure messaging services.

We’re here when you need cash. Members used BECU ATMs more than 17 million times last year.

Whether in-person, over the phone, virtually or through an ATM, we’re getting it right, according to you. A Net Promoter Score (NPS) measures customer experience and loyalty, and asks the following question: “How likely is it that you would recommend our company/product/service to a friend or colleague?” Scores can range from -100 to 100 percent, and a score of 50 percent or more is considered excellent. In 2018 we earned a NPS of 74 percent, one of the highest in the industry.

I do not like, but love BECU! I love BECU for two words, member-owners." —Thanh N., BECU member

From introducing telephone banking in 1988 to dedicating ourselves to banking-tech leadership in 2008, we’ve always embraced smart changes that save you money and time. Some of BECU’s best ideas come from you. Through BECU’s online Member Idea Exchange (MIX) forum, our Member Summit and routine service surveys, you suggest ways we can serve you better. We listened and here are just some of the services we added in 2018:

Inclusive Digital Experiences

Nearly a million people visited the BECU.org website every month in 2018. So we updated our website and mobile app for ease of use and accessibility, including changes that will make banking easier for our blind and visually impaired members.

Travel Notifications

Our new digital travel notification feature provides additional convenience. Use the BECU app or BECU.org to tell us you’ll be traveling to Paris or Poughkeepsie and avoid triggering fraud services.

Easy Pauses

If you’ve misplaced your card around the house block its use by “pausing” your debit card online. You can easily reactivate the card after you locate it.

Hey Alexa!

“How much do I have in savings?” Owners of an Amazon Echo can now ask Alexa about recent checking account transactions, current loan balances and more. Simply enable the BECU Skill for Alexa and you’re ready to talk money.

Digital Experts

We realize that all this technology can get a little overwhelming. Our Digital Advisors in Neighborhood Financial Centers are ready to answer member questions about online banking and the BECU mobile app.

Exclusive Savings

Late last year, BECU gave members a complimentary membership to the Passport program: Using an app, members can access thousands of discounts on everything from hotels to laptops to vet services — and more. The Passport program already helped save BECU members $73,715 in 2018.

New Locations

BECU Home Loan Center, Spokane, WA

For your convenience, we’ve added four new Neighborhood Financial Centers in the past year: Downtown Seattle, South Lake Union, Newcastle and Sammamish, and we relocated our Smokey Point location. In Eastern Washington, our new Spokane Home Loan Center is helping members buy the house of their dreams. And in 2018, we added or upgraded 42 BECU ATMs in the region, so it’s easier to deposit a check, review your balance or take out a fast $40.

BECU has awesome features like mobile check deposits and apps, and the online banking is available to use at my convenience. No limitations. No fees. No WORRIES. Thank you, BECU!" —Ashley J., BECU member.
Business Member Spotlight

Maybe it’s our dedicated business specialists. Perhaps it’s our interest-earning business checking accounts. It could be our lines of credit and merchant services, or loans for equipment, vehicles and real estate. For a few of these reasons (or all of the above), 9,714 new business members set up financial shop with BECU in 2018. Here are a few of the innovative and creative businesses banking with us:


Darrah C. invented a new, more comfortable style of hosiery that boasts extra-soft fabric and an easy-wear elastic waistline. She moved from a commercial bank to BECU, attracted by our business-friendly no-minimum-fee accounts. Read more about Loho and BECU.

JRA Restoration

Jon and Jamie A. turned a part-time hobby – restoring classic cars – into a profitable full-time Spokane business. After hearing BECU offered a free business checking account, the couple decided to make BECU home to JRA Restoration’s business accounts, including checking, credit card and line of credit. Read on to discover what JRA Restoration and BECU have in common.

Puzzle Break

Four years ago, Nate M. and Lindsay M. created Puzzle Break, the first escape room relying on teamwork. The duo felt confident adding escape-room locations around the country with BECU’s business banking services (no code word required). Learn about the escape room trend and Puzzle Break.

Financially, owning your own business can be rewarding, but you have to stay disciplined. BECU has the flexibility to adapt to how we operate." —Jon A., JRA Restoration

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IV. BECU By the Numbers

Federally insured by NCUA