O Bee Credit Union: People Helping People

Much has changed in the past few months, but one thing that will never change is O Bee’s commitment to the South Sound community. As a not-for-profit credit union, O Bee is guided by the principle of “people helping people.” After careful consultations with medical experts, O Bee has decided to reopen all of their Thurston County lobbies, including the Fern Hill lobby in Tacoma. The Point Ruston branch will also reopen in a few weeks, after some interior repairs are addressed. 

If you choose to visit one of the newly reopened branches, O Bee offers many usual services still available: deposits and withdrawals, check cashing, loan payments, cashier or counter checks, debit card printing, cash advances, and shared branching. Public restrooms, the coin machine, and coin exchange services are not currently available in-branch.

Beyond their usual services, O Bee has taken their motto of “people helping people” to the next level. O Bee noticed serious food bank shortages in the community that had been brought on by increased demand after the extended shelter-in-place mandate. To raise awareness for these shortages, and to provide a creative tool for managing stress, O Bee hosted the Color-for-Cash contest – an online coloring contest for adults with a total of $3,000 in cash prizes. Over 1,000 people entered, and six lucky south sound residents split the award money. O Bee matched the contest giveaway by donating $3,000 each to Thurston County Food Bank and Nourish Pierce County.

Family Support Center operates Pear Blossom Place, a 24/7 family shelter in Olympia. When COVID-19 was recognized as a national threat, they relocated some of the families they serve to the nearby Quality Inn Hotel to allow for more social distancing. On Friday, May 22, 2020, a fire broke out, the hotel was evacuated and later deemed a total loss. No one was injured, but 15 houseless families staying there lost everything. O Bee stepped in to help and donated $5,000 to purchase needed supplies.

To learn more about O Bee Credit Union, their services, or what they’re doing right now to help our community, visit their website.

Tim Timmer at O Bee Credit Union

O Bee Credit Union is now home to Tim Timmer as the V.P. of Business Lending, a new department which is already being recognized for its contributions. Along with his dedicated team, Thierry Steuby and Leah Hontz, Tim has brought a new level of service and customer relations to O Bee. Tim endured a challenging upbringing, but it was one that ultimately set him on a path to success.

Tim had his share of challenges from early on. “Between the ages of 4 and 12, my family moved from Washington to Illinois, and then to Minnesota,” he says. “My father owned a restaurant but lost it during the farming crisis of 1984.” When Tim’s father abruptly passed away in 1993, Tim says frankly that he “had nowhere to live.” After being temporarily taken in by a friend’s parents, Tim finally found his calling as a personal bank teller for the US Bank.

Tim enjoyed building relationships with customers and eventually transitioned to South Sound Bank. “I had a great mentor in President and CEO Dan Yerrington,” he says. That’s also where he met his current business partners. “Leah and Thierry are a major reason I’ve been so successful; I couldn’t do it without them,” he adds. After Timberland acquired South Sound Bank in 2018, the team entered the O Bee family and have excelled since.

Just recently, they received a Top Partner Award for their work in the Small Business Administration (SBA) 504 program from Evergreen Business Capital. “The SBA is a great program that helps small business owners access business loans for real estate purchases with specialized rates and terms. Winning the award helps generate awareness for the program so we can help more of our members save money on terms and realize ownership of their business location,” Tim says. 

Tim is looking forward to a lot in 2020, from hiking and camping with his wife and son to raising awareness for homelessness and growing the Business Lending department at O Bee. He is a co-owner of Fresh Start Housing, a passion project that manages multiple properties to house the homeless. “We connect them to resources and provide a safe living environment with supervision and regulations that they have to live by,” he emphasized. “Our primary mission is to provide clean and sober, low barrier housing to individuals who are out of treatment, incarceration or mental evaluation. These are leading causes of homelessness and we feel we are doing our part to take a dent out.”

Tim and his team have quickly become part of the O Bee family, sharing their considerable talent, energy, and invaluable expertise. To learn more about the team or what they do, visit the O Bee website.

Pub-Style Banking at Point Ruston

The Olympia Brewery may not be the first thing that comes to mind when you think of banking, but O Bee Credit Union wants to change that. A leader in providing innovative financial solutions for more than 60 years, O Bee announced the opening of its newest branch, a unique blend of brewpub and financial service center in Point Ruston.

O Bee’s rich history as the original credit union of the Olympia Brewery is reflected in the interior of the new building. It features a brewpub aesthetic including brick walls, wood barrels, hand- painted murals, a transaction bar accented with brass rails and local beer taps, chalkboard signage and decor reminiscent of times gone by. Historic photos of Point Ruston and Tacoma are displayed throughout. “The pub atmosphere ties in well with our history. It’s reminiscent of the old brewery tasting room where the community met, and workers gathered after the end of a shift,” says James Collins, CEO.

This will be the sixth branch opening for O Bee and its first venture into Pierce County. “It’s exciting,” says Collins. “We’re one of the most unique credit unions in the country with products that can’t be found at most financial institutions.” In addition to an array of loan options including home and auto, O Bee offers its signature brewery credit and debit cards featuring favorite brands like Rainier and Olympia. The Berenstain Bears® Cub Account is also part of O Bee’s selection of products. Cub Accounts provide an incentive program for young savers that’s part of a financial education program emphasizing the concepts of “Save, Share, Spend and Earn.”

“Banks shouldn’t feel cold or impersonal and having a brick-and-mortar establishment is important to our membership, so we decided to have some fun with the design concept,” added Collins.

O Bee Credit Union (The Olympia Brewing Co. Employees and Families Credit Union) was started Feb. 15, 1955, by Ted McGill, who worked in the bottle house of the brewery. This full-service not-for-profit credit union, owned by its members, has five other branches located in Lacey, Tumwater, Tenino, Yelm and West Olympia. Membership is open to all Washington residents.


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