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Your OlyFed

Home Ownership Above the Bottom Line

By: Jennifer Arnold, Senior Vice President / Chief Banking Officer

When OlyFed was founded in 1906, there were few options for buying or building a home, outside of paying cash. At that time, some insurance companies offered mortgages, but they were very different from the home loans we’re familiar with today.

As the capital city began to grow along with state government, more and more families were searching for affordable ways to own a home. Our founders responded by creating a mutual savings and loan accountable to its depositors and borrowers. This was an innovative approach to banking at the time and today it remains a socially responsible way of doing business.

From the beginning we’ve been dedicated to making home ownership attainable and affordable, which is why we remain a portfolio lender that doesn’t sell its loans on the secondary market.  To us, that would be like selling our relationships that we’ve built with our customers and our community. We make loans by investing your deposits in local housing, which helps build economic prosperity right here in Thurston and Mason counties, while also building and contributing to the local tax base which supports our schools, parks and social services infrastructure.

Framing in custom built home under construction near Evergreens in Tumwater, WA.Our very first loans were for $1,500 to Charles and Florence Stentz to build a home at 400 Maple Park and $7,500 to Robert and Mary Dorgah to construct their residence at 1016 Main. Stentz, a sales clerk with Buckeye Extract Company and Dorgah, manager of the Olympia office of Pacific Telephone and Telegraph Company had to wait a couple months after their loans were approved to start construction because disbursal of the loan money needed to be delayed until the deposits could support it.

Custom built home under construction in the Evergreens.From the very beginning, business at OlyFed has been built on the simple equation of locals helping locals. It’s why everyone gets the same great rate on a home loan, regardless of credit score. It’s why people, not computers, make decisions. It’s why if rates go down before closing, we automatically give you the best deal.  It’s why we have a special affordable home loan program for people earning less than 80% of median income and why we finance homes for South Puget Sound’s Habitat for Humanity clients. That’s what banking that’s mutual is all about.

These values have never been more evident than they have been over the past couple months as we all respond to the pandemic. Here at OlyFed we’ve helped every mortgage customer requesting assistance as a result of suffering financial hardship from COVID-19. We’ve waived late fees, deferred payments and restructured loan terms, temporarily paused credit reporting and so much more. This is what neighbors do for their friends and this is why we’re different. We put people and home ownership above the bottom line.

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