A Credit Union Built on Community

Employees at iQ Credit Union volunteer enthusiastically at a wide range of events. The growing institution opened a new branch (below) in St. Johns.

Brand Story – How outreach became the heart & soul of locally based iQ Credit Union.

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 At first glance, iQ Credit Union might seem like a highly active community outreach organization.

When employees are not busy caring for members’ unique financial needs, you will probably find them volunteering and engaging with the community. Looking at iQ’s upcoming outreach agenda, which is filled with exciting activities, it becomes clear that their efforts go far beyond token corporate obligation.

“Giving back is ingrained in everything here, even as we grow. It is iQ Credit Union,” explained Danette LaChapelle, Senior VP Marketing & Communications. “Being a part of the community has always been important to our board and staff, because this is where we live and work. It’s who we are.”

These philanthropy efforts shape the entire organization by attracting employees and members who share the value of connecting with the community.
Founded by teachers, iQ emphasizes financial education, from mortgage workshops to budgeting discussions at local bars (aptly named budget and brews).

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The Campus Branch Program lets high school classes “manage” a credit union branch, while the iQ Financial Reality Fair assigns each child an imaginary income tied to a level of education. Based on that income, they determine what their budget, costs and lifestyle will look like in terms of housing, transportation, food and beyond. The new Financial Escape Room being rolled out at various schools represents yet another creative way to help kids grasp finance.

Beyond financial education, iQ partners with local organizations — e.g. food banks, Habitat for Humanity, the American Red Cross — contributing both financially and, importantly, employee volunteers. Its iQ for Kids Foundation rewards staff contributions with casual dress days and lets them support incredible child-oriented organizations.

iQ Credit Union has been serving the Pacific Northwest since 1940, offering checking, loans, investment and insurance services for both consumers and businesses out of 15 Vancouver-based branches and soon to be two Portland-based branches. On May 13, it opened a new branch in St. Johns Union Building and is already attending local business association meetings, participating in the parade and, together with Roosevelt High School students and staff, helping refinish the downtown park benches.

At iQ, staff are given eight annual Community Time Off hours to use for volunteering during the workday. This is just one reason, among many, why The Oregonian named iQ Credit Union a top local company to work for over the past three years.
“When it comes to iQ’s impact, internal feedback has been just as positive as community feedback.,” said LaChapelle. “We appreciate the opportunity to get involved in the community and the culture that this creates. From a business perspective, you can advertise all you want, but that doesn’t compare to working side-by-side with the community. It’s rewarding for everyone.


Brand stories are paid content articles that allow Oregon Business advertisers to share news about their organizations and engage with readers on business and public policy issues.  The stories are produced in house by the Oregon Business marketing department. For more information, contact associate publisher Courtney Kutzman.