Gesa Credit Union's new corporate headquarters will open to the public Monday.
The branch office on Gage Boulevard and Bellerive Drive will start operating from the new 76,000-square-foot building at 51 Gage Blvd. in Richland.
Credit union members will deal with the same staff they are used to at the new location at "our flagship branch," said Christina Brown, president and CEO of Gesa.
Brown said the new building has helped bring credit union executives, who were working from different Tri-City branches, to one location. It has improved communication and work processes, she said.
A new branch office at 27th Avenue and Union Street in Kennewick also will open next week, bringing the number of Gesa branches to 10, Brown said.
The latest expansion reflects Gesa's growth, both in membership and total assets, she said. The number of Gesa members has grown from about 83,000 in mid-2008 to more than 90,000, and Gesa's assets have increased from $748 million to more than $900 million, Brown said.
It also shows the confidence consumers have placed in credit unions, which operate like a financial cooperative in which members own the credit union. It allows credit unions to offer better interest rates and loan terms to members, Brown said.
This year, Washington credit unions have grown about 10 percent. "Media reports on problematic banks seemingly have made Washingtonians suspicious of profit-driven financial institutions, especially big Wall Street banks," said John Annaloro, president and CEO of the Washington Credit Union League, in a recent statement.
About 2.8 million people, or 42 percent of the state's population, were members of the state's 119 financial cooperatives at the end of the third quarter, the league says.
Gesa's growth is driven by expanded member services, Brown said. In April, the credit union began offering business accounts and special business loans, particularly through U.S. Small Business Administration programs.
Gesa is also among Tri-City financial institutions set up to process U.S. Department of Agriculture loans for rural properties, together with Federal Housing Administration loans.
In October, Gesa began providing customized investment and insurance solutions to its members.