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First Federal changes name, appearance



Sometimes less is more.

Following suit with that belief, First Federal — the only locally owned and managed savings and loan financial institution on the North Olympic Peninsula — dropped the “savings and loan” portion of its title as part of a “rebranding effort.”

The bank’s new slogan is “Making a difference. Together.”

“We realized last year that First Federal long has a story to tell,” said Karen McCormick, president and CEO. “We took a hard look at who we are and what we present to the community and then asked people ‘What does First Federal mean to you?’”

The feedback was plentiful, according to McCormick. “We got a lot of information about how our look and name represent us,” she said. “To a good segment of the community, ‘savings and loan’ was limiting. People were wondering if we could really do all that a bank can.”

“But when it came to First Federal, people told us no matter what we call ourselves they will always think of us as First Federal,” she said.

Three white waves on a green background — the bank’s new logo — represent the sky, water and mountains that make the peninsula what it is, McCormick explained. And like the aesthetic beauty of the region, First Federal isn’t going anywhere, she assured. “We are here to stay and will not merge or sell. We are dedicated to Clallam and Jefferson counties.”

First Federal has a reputation throughout the community for its generosity and involvement.

“We don’t go for just headline gifts,” McCormick said. “We feel that as a community institution it’s more important to support grassroots initiatives you don’t always hear about.”

First Federal donates regularly to the Port Angeles YMCA, the Sequim Boys & Girls Club and the Northwest Maritime Center in Port Townsend, as well as other area charities, nonprofit groups and youth sports team. Employees celebrate a variety of annual shred events, Salvation Army collections, bake-offs, business seminars and appreciation days.

Despite a nationwide credit crisis related to subprime lending, First Federal is in the clear.

“We are not in any trouble whatsoever,” McCormick promised. “We have always been conservative and look at long-term benefits, so we stayed away from subprime lending and I’m pleased to say we are very strong.”

First Federal opened its doors in 1923 as Lincoln Savings and Loan. The bank’s first home loan was made on April 18, 1923, for $500. The proud new owners had a payment of $10.82 per month, wood heat, no electricity and no indoor plumbing, according to the First Federal Web site.

In the 1940s, First Federal sold war bonds and made money available to returning veterans through the Soldiers and Sailors Civil Relief Act — one example of the bank’s dedication to its community.

Eight branches serve Clallam and Jefferson counties from Forks to Port Townsend. Sequim has two branches, one on North Sequim Avenue and one in the Sequim Village Marketplace.

For more information, go online to www.ourfirstfed.com.
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