Tech CU crosses the Idaho border – virtually

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Technology Credit Union has opened its first branch for members outside of California — or at least virtually.

San Jose, Calif.-based Tech CU ($4.3 billion, 159,733 members) announced Oct. 14 the opening of a new virtual branch for Boise, Idaho, and elsewhere in Southwest USA. Idaho. It won’t count as a new physical branch, but Tech CU President/CEO Todd Harris said it’s the first expansion outside of traditional credit union boundaries.

“Treasure Valley, and Boise in particular, have been our focus for several years now,” Harris said in a press release. “Not only are the people who live there super friendly, but it’s a thriving tech hub with a rapidly growing population and a high concentration of respected employers, making it an ideal location for Tech CU.”

Todd Harris Todd Harris

Tech CU had 10 branches as of June 30, unchanged from a year ago. Nine of its branches are in Silicon Valley: seven in San Jose and elsewhere in Santa Clara County and two in neighboring Alameda County. Its only outpost is in San Francisco County.

A Tech CU press release said the virtual branch is designed to give members “the same personalized, highly tactile, face-to-face banking experience they typically receive in person, from the comfort of their own homes.”

Members can make an appointment to speak with a virtual banker Monday through Saturday as early as 30 minutes from the time of online scheduling. They can make credit card and loan applications, troubleshoot account or debit card issues, apply for savings, and handle other banking issues.

“Consumers are used to doing a lot of things virtually now, and banking is no exception,” said Robert Reed, director of retail banking at Tech CU. “We have spent the last year and a half refining our virtual branch model across our membership area and are confident that we can deliver the same in-person experience our members have come to expect virtually.”

robert reed robert reed

NCUA data showed credit unions have expanded their branches in the west and south faster than elsewhere in the country. Idaho had 242 branches as of June 30, a net increase of four in the prior year and 13 since March 2020.

Ask by CU time, “Why Idaho, why now?” Harris responded via email Wednesday that the answer goes back to the credit union’s roots in Silicon Valley.

A significant number of Tech CU members are tech professionals, he said. And tech companies continue to expand in other regions, including Seattle, Portland, Austin, and southwestern Idaho. According to Wikipedia, this area is called the Lower Snake River Valley, but it was also dubbed “Treasure Valley” by business leaders in 1959.

“We found that many members tend to move with their employer,” Harris said. “It’s not uncommon for us to have a member who has lived in multiple tech hubs over the past 10 years.”

“Realizing that our members are mobile – relative to technology-centric markets – it makes sense for us to be present in these types of geographies,” he said. “After doing a lot of research, reviewing the competitive landscape and looking at market opportunities, we knew Treasure Valley would be a good market for our first expansion outside of California.”

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