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Credit union closing Brooklyn branch to make way for light rail

by: Rita A. Leonard Brooklyn’s Advantis Credit Union branch at 3717 S.E. 17th Avenue will close this summer, although a full-service ATM is planned to remain on-site; the current ATM is visible to the right of the front door.

The Inner Southeast branch of Advantis Credit Union, across from PGE headquarters on S.E. 17th in Brooklyn, is one of the business casualties of the incoming Portland-Milwaukie Light Rail line.

Managers of the trim brick building at 3717 SE 17th Avenue have been in communication with TriMet, which plans to cut back the site to widen 17th to accommodate the Inner Southeast MAX line.

The building was once home to the PGE Credit Union, which merged with the Union Pacific Credit Union (at the time of the merger called the Rose City of Oregon Federal Credit Union) a decade ago and changed its name to Electra Credit Union. With a subsequent merger in 2005 with the PACE Credit Union, it became Advantis.

This branch of Advantis will close in early June, with most of their 18 or so employees transferred north of Burnside to the new branch opening up at N.E. 15th and Fremont during the summer.

THE BEE discussed these changes at a mid-April meeting with Wendy Edwards, Advantis' VP of Marketing, and Tim Clouse, VP of Information Technology and Facilities.

'We have a lot of members from PGE and TriMet employer groups, but today the branch is not really convenient for a large number of our members,' said Edwards.

Clouse added, 'We change as our members' preferences change. Most of our 13,000 customers now prefer to access services remotely via mobile phone banking. Only about 2,500 steady users come in to this branch on a regular basis.

'We plan to maintain at least one full-service ATM at this site after the branch closes. We've also added a full-service ATM at our City of Milwaukie headquarters, which will become our Regional Loan and Mortgage center.'

Edwards explained, 'TriMet needs this property for the light rail project. But since about 2004, Advantis has been spreading our branches further out into the community, to make it more convenient to our members where they live and shop.

'Setting up a new branch is a complicated project. We're currently exploring other possible sites in more strategic outlying areas. We need to wait for premium locations to become available in order to best serve our members.' Inner Southeast, and all those PGE, Union Pacific, and TriMet members, along with others who would like to join a local credit union, can only hope this area will seem 'premium' in these future plans, but for now those members seeking a teller and interviewing for a loan will have to make the trek to the recently remodeled branch at 3010 S.E. Belmont.

Advantis has already informed its customers that the Brooklyn branch will be closing in June. 'We'll put out further information on the Web and in fliers, when we're closer to the moving date,' says Clouse. 'For further information, you can call 503/785-2528, option 5.'