When Terri Salstrom, President and CEO of Industrial Credit Union, heads to her local grocery store, it’s not unusual for a community member to stop her and ask her about the rates on car loans. It’s something she loves about her job.
Her name and face are known throughout the community of Bellingham, and she spent her professional career making that happen by being accessible and member focused.
“I treat our members the way I want to be treated by people providing services to me – with respect and honesty,” Salstrom said.
After serving the credit union for 36 years – 25 of those as CEO – Salstrom is retiring at the end of the year. The credit union’s board is currently in the process of seeking her successor.
Salstrom began her career more than 45 years ago, spending that entire time in the finance industry. In that time, she’s seen a lot of changes.
“It’s always the same as far as teaching people to save and manage their money. Letting that 18-year-old know he doesn’t need a $50,000 pickup truck hasn’t changed,” she said. “But I started working at the credit union before there was the internet, and that puts things in perspective. Things are more complex. There are more choices. You’ve got a lot of options and different avenues of lending. It’s become easier, yet in other ways more complicated.”
Since becoming the CEO, Industrial grew its assets to more than $245 million and serves over 26,000 members. The credit union was created in 1941 to serve employees at Bellingham’s Puget Sound Pulp and Timer Company. In 1981, a new charter was written to serve everyone working within Whatcom County – becoming Industrial Credit Union.
“Terri is the heart of the credit union – a brilliant organizer and motivator, with an eye for recognizing talent and cultivating it,” said Industrial Credit Union Chairman, Michael Ashby. “She has spent a career in community involvement, education, and empowerment. She has earned the deep respect of those around her through her insightful knowledge and dedication to the organization.”
Fellow board member Lloyd Ludtke echoed Ashby’s sentiments. He’s served on Industrial’s board since 1992.
“She has led the credit union through some tough times but always with a great attitude and one that instilled confidence in her staff and her directors. She led the way in community involvement with our food drives and her time as a leader in the Boys and Girls Club,” Ludtke said.”
Along with her dedication to Industrial, Salstrom served on the League Services, Inc. Board for more than six years, including as Chair for four years. She served in several capacities, including Vice Chair, on the Washington Credit Union League from 1997 to 2007, and from 2002 to 2006, she was a trustee for the Washington Credit Union Foundation.
After she steps down from Industrial, Salstrom plans to go on a few road trips, see her daughter in Australia, and work on digitally archiving family photos.
“Who knows what the future is going to bring. The main thing is I’m still going to be part of the community and sit back, relax, and catch up on those things I’ve been putting off for so long,” Salstrom said. “I’ve got about five containers of pictures I want to get digitized. I want to make sure that there is a legacy.”
Legacy is what Salstrom has created as CEO and President of Industrial.
“She will be missed, but never forgotten,” said Ashby.
Thank you to the Northwest Credit Union Association for this article, originally published here.