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To find headquarters, just head downtown

By PAT JENKINS

The Mirror

Woodstone Credit Union changing its main address from one Federal Way location to another may not seem earthshaking, but it does rock downtown’s world a little.

With the opening this month of its new combined HQ and branch at 1825 316th St., Woodstone is the only sizable business whose headquarters are in downtown Federal Way.

A Federal Way fixture in its 65th year, Woodstone now is hanging its primary shingle within a short walk of the massive new transit center built by Sound Transit that will open soon and The Commons at Federal Way, the mall that’s redeveloping and adding a 16-screen movie theater.

Susan Streifel, the credit union’s chief executive officer and a community booster (she’s chairwoman of the Federal Way Chamber of Commerce board of directors), sees the new Woodstone building as a symbol of an unfolding downtown renaissance embracing commuters and shoppers.

It also is symbolic of Woodstone’s commitment to Federal Way and the credit union’s customers, she noted.

“We’re looking at how we can grow in the next five years, bringing convenience to members where they live and work,” Streifel said, adding she’s already pleasantly surprised by customers who are walking to the new location.

Construction of the 16,875-square-foot building began last June. The almost-finished product (the branch opened Jan. 4; the headquarters will finish relocating in the next few months from its old digs on First Way South) includes a customer-service feature that’s a first for Woodstone: A two-way video system for the three drive-through lanes so members and tellers can see and talk to each other.

Touches such as that came from a design process that focused on “convenience and a conducive environment” that make members feel welcome, Streifel said.

Other features include drive-up and walk-up ATMs, safe-deposit boxes and a night depository.

“We’re very proud of what we have here, and we hope people will like it and feel comfortable when they visit,” Streifel said. “This is just the first step in creating a broader network to serve the ‘in-person’ needs of our members.”

Like other federal-regulated credit unions, Woodstone is a not-for-profit financial cooperative. It was founded in 1941 for Weyerhaeuser corporate employees before branching out, though it still has employees of Federal Way-based Weyerhaeuser among its approximately 12,000 members.

Woodstone has $80 million in assets and two full-service branches, plus two student-run branches at Federal Way and Decatur high schools.

Editor Pat Jenkins: 925-5565, editor@fedwaymirror.com

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