For 114 years, Olympia Federal Savings has lived up to its distinction as a mutual bank. “Our tagline is ‘banking that’s mutual because we’re a mutual bank,’ and we really want the relationship to be one that’s mutual and where the customers know that we put people above the bottom line, and I think you’ll see that lived out in just about everything we do,” Ryan Betz, vice president of marketing and public relations at the bank said.
The commitment to community that guides OlyFed in its work is evident in its core operation.
Through the bank’s various giving programs, 10 to 15 percent of profits are put back into the community, Betz said. And those financial contributions from this financial institution are hefty: more than $400,000 was given last year, according to Betz. The benefactors of these dollars come from across the community. Betz said that in 2019, the bank supported close to 200 organizations.
“We try to support a diverse group of organizations because we feel like that that’s representative of our community,” Betz said, on whom they focus on each year.
Thinking about these contributions, Betz said, “(is) inspiring and heartwarming to kind of see, ‘Wow, I really work for a great organization.’”
The philanthropic character of the bank is what drew Betz to work there four years ago. Betz was working for a local Boys and Girls Club. There, president and CEO of the bank, Lori Drummond, and vice president of marketing, Sandy DiBernardo, were volunteers.
“And I really was just incredibly impressed with their genuine, authentic care and concern for the community,” Betz said.
This giving-back philosophy is made possible for every employee at OlyFed. Besides encouraging employees to use work time to get involved with volunteer and community organizations, the bank gives employees two paid days off each year to focus on what matters to them.
Betz has used his days off to be involved with programs at his family’s church, volunteer at his kids’ school, and support the United Way, where he is on the board.
Coming from the nonprofit sector, seeing Drummond, DiBernardo, and other employees’ care for the community brought Betz to OlyFed, and his last four years with the bank have been “incredibly rewarding,” he said.
“I’ve had a lot of opportunities personally to grow here at the company,” Betz said. The emphasis on employee care fosters growth opportunities.
“If you look at our CEO, Lori Drummond, and she started out as the receptionist 36 years ago when she started here, and now, she’s president and CEO of the bank,” Betz said.
“OlyFedders,” as they’ve been dubbed, get to give back through their patronage at the bank. The Two Cent program started in November 2018, donates 2 cents from every customer’s debit transaction to an organization, which changes each month.
This year, COVID-19 has brought financial hardship to many. OlyFed’s commitment to its community has remained strong.
It provided 95 Paycheck Protection Program loans for small businesses as part of the CARES Act, totaling more than $5 million in a three-month period. This is roughly three times the amount of loans OlyFed provides to small businesses each year.
The bank’s charitable nature has meant sponsoring various nonprofits’ virtual events as people shift from in-person to online to keep the community safe.
They continue to give, as well. From January to the end of August, Betz said, the bank has contributed more than $250,000 toward charitable causes.
“I would say the awesome part of our organization is we wanted to continue to be a meaningful resource for our community,” Betz said.
*Olympia Federal Savings employees during pre-COVID volunteerism events.