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From McChord Credit Union to Harborstone

Member owned for 65 years

A classic photo of the McChord Credit Union crew back in the day. Photo credit Harborstone Credit Union

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Harborstone Credit Union has shown up on McChord Field for 65 Veterans Days and plans to stay there for many years to come. And Harborstone's Training Manager, Kathy Lanning, has personally witnessed 37 years of that time - offering a unique perspective on what began as McChord Credit Union.

"I've seen a number of changes over the years," Lanning said from her office at the credit union's headquarters in Lakewood, where she manages the internal employee training program.

In 1955, Harborstone began as McChord Federal Credit Union, serving airmen on McChord Air Force Base who each owned five $5 shares to establish their membership. From its modest beginnings, McChord Federal Credit Union always existed for the betterment of its members and community.

"We care deeply about the military community," Lanning said. "And as we expanded on from our McChord roots, that connection and support never ceased."

In 1996, the credit union opened its field of membership and changed its name to Harborstone Credit Union so that more people could enjoy the benefits of the member-owned credit union. Changing the name helped clarify the message that anyone in Washington State could join, not just those associated with the Air Force.

Also in that year, Harborstone partnered with the Northwest Airlifter newspaper and Boeing to establish the Pierce Military Business Alliance (PMBA), which today gives over $100,000 each year to morale programs across Joint Base Lewis-McChord and Camp Murray. This is just one example of how Harborstone stays connected to its roots.

Lanning actually started her career with First Interstate Bank back in the 1980s in a building located right across the parking lot from Harborstone's McChord branch. At that time, Harborstone had only two branches - one at McChord and one at Villa Plaza (now Lakewood Towne Center). While at First Interstate, Lanning had "the pleasure" of meeting the Harborstone team and was convinced it was an organization well aligned with her personal values and beliefs.

"We all got along really well back then," she laughed.

Lanning has always enjoyed that "small town" feel of a credit union, and while she misses the day-to-day interaction on McChord, she knows Harborstone's mission hasn't changed. She still remembers that day in the late 1980s when McChord Credit Union started doing motorcycle loans. One elated airman showed up the next day and offered to give her a ride across McChord on the back of his new Harley. "I was so pleased he thought of me," Lanning added.

In 2013, Harborstone combined forces with Prevail Credit Union (founded in 1940 as King County Employees Credit Union) to strengthen its connection with King County communities and provide more members access to branches, co-op ATMs, and Shared Branching networks.

Lanning can't say enough good things about Harborstone and her days back on McChord. And while a lot has changed over the years, she is happy that the credit union continues to be active in the PMBA, the Air Force Association, the Association of the United States Army, and more.

"I just love being with our military," she added.


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