We recently sat down with Ryan Betz, Vice President of Marketing & Public Relations Manager and Carrie Whisler, SVP (Senior Vice President & CCO (Chief Credit Officer) of Olympia Federal Savings (OlyFed). Enjoy our conversation below!
Thurston EDC: How long have you been in business?
Carrie and Ryan: OlyFed has been in business since 1906, and this year we are celebrating our 115th anniversary. We were started by a group of business and community leaders that wanted to provide a safe and secure place for people to save and earn interest while creating greater access and affordability in terms of homeownership. OlyFed financed many of the first homes constructed in Olympia.
Thurston EDC: What inspires your work and sets you apart from the competition?
Carrie and Ryan: OlyFed is a mutual bank, which means we’re accountable to our borrowers and depositors, not stockholders. The money on deposit with OlyFed helps build our local economy through business, construction, mortgage and commercial development loans. Even better, we are a portfolio lender, which means we don’t sell our loans because that would be like selling our relationship with our customers. Our neighbor helping neighbor business model has remained the same and is the reason why we gave back more than 10% of our profits and thousands of hours of volunteer service to local area nonprofits each year.
Thurston EDC: What has been your most significant success to date?
Carrie and Ryan: We are proud of how we’ve been able to add the latest banking technology while maintaining the personal care and service we’re known for in the community. We’ve invested millions of dollars in providing our customers with the online and mobile banking tools they need to thrive in today’s world. Our website is now a fully operational digital branch where customers can open accounts, start loans and get the service and support they need.
Thurston EDC: What is your best advice for an aspiring entrepreneur? Do you have a business or personal mantra or inspirational quote you’d like to share?
Carrie and Ryan: At OlyFed, we believe organizational culture is the big difference-maker when serving our customers and community and living out our mission and values. Above all else, we strive to do the right thing for the best interests of those we serve and support. We believe Simon Sinek says it best, “Profit comes as a result of being good at what we do. Trust comes as a result of being good at why we do it.”
Thurston EDC: Thank you for being an investor in the Thurston EDC! What value do you see in the EDC that leads to your commitment to supporting our organization?
Carrie and Ryan: The EDC has played a vital role in our community for decades, helping to recruit businesses to the area, providing educational resources and support to entrepreneurs and helping to build the economic infrastructure that allows businesses and families to thrive. We’re honored to be members of the organization. We have had many of our employees serve as board members and volunteers over the years to help create new opportunities for Thurston County to expand its impact, influence, and portfolio of businesses and industries.