Stories Matter

About Us

Our History

During the Great Depression, unionized millworkers from the Inland Empire Paper Company came together to establish a credit union in 1938. Originally named the Inland Empire Paper Employees Credit Union (IEPECU), the goal was to encourage savings and provide easier access to funds for emergencies and necessities among the IEP millworkers.


Our Founding

  • Event: Unionized millworkers from Inland Empire Paper Company establish the credit union.
  • Original Name: Inland Empire Paper Employees Credit Union (IEPECU).
  • Purpose: Encourage savings and provide emergency funds for millworkers.

1938 – NOW

Women Leadership Begins

  • Leadership: Women leadership since the very beginning.
  • First Manager: Twila Thau serves as our first manager and leads for over three decades from 1938 to 1970.

First President & CEO

Dolores Fallis

1970 – 1997

Seccond President & CEO

Debie Keesee

1997 – 2023

Third President & CEO

Sarah Dahmen




  • Leadership: Dolores Fallis takes over as CEO for nearly three decades to 1997. 
  • Focus: Navigating the challenging economic cycles of the ’60s, ’70s, and ’80s, Dolores expanded the credit union membership to include mass media like the Spokesman Review, other newsprint organizations, television, broadcasting, and radio.
  • Rebrand & Charter: Our name changed from IEPCU to Spokane Media Credit Union. Later we changed from a state charter to a federal charter and our name changed again to Spokane Media Federal Credit Union. 



  • Leadership: Debie Keesee takes the lead as CEO and serves over two decades until 2023.
  • Focus: Honored with a Lifetime Achievement Award from the NWCUA in 2019, Debie was highly involved in advocacy for the credit union movement and the founding of the CUSO CU*Northwest. 
  • Field of Membership (FOM): Our membership continues to expand further, and we begin to serve the Indians Baseball Booster Club and many small media organizations, marketing and advertising companies.

2023 – Now


  • President/CEO: Sarah Dahmen takes the helm as President/CEO in 2023.
  • Focus: Rebranding to Media Credit Union as our DBA and expanding community outreach, awareness, education, and support.
  • Field of Membership (FOM): Our members continue to expand into cross disciplines for content creation like film, theater, performing arts, music, composition, podcasting, social media, and more…


Through the Decades

  • Membership: We support Storytellers.
  • Roots: We continue our dedication to Inland Empire Paper Company union members. 
  • Focus: We learn from our members in many media professions to see how we can continue to evolve and serve our member’s needs. 
  • Expansion: From papermakers in 1938 to encompassing the modern media and digital creatives of today, we are keeping a close eye on professions in the creative economy.
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Our Founding – 1938: In the midst of the Great Depression, a group of union millworkers, known for manufacturing high-quality newsprint at Inland Empire Paper Company, created a financial cooperative called Empire Paper Employees Credit Union.

Our founders saw millworkers struggle to qualify for loans for basic necessities, such as a new stove or vehicle to get to work, because for-profit banks representing shareholders and private interests were not willing to lend money to the average worker. So they addressed this unfairness and inequity by creating our credit union, which became a community of financial support and resilience.

Using a humble shoe box secured inside a locker as the “vault,” they started our mission of promoting savings and lending money to their fellow workers during times of need. As the credit union grew, it hired its first manager, Tessa Smith, and we’ve been a women-led credit union ever since.

Expansion and Evolution – 1973: As decades passed, the credit union grew in scope and vision. In 1973, under the leadership of our second manager, Delores Smith FALLIS? , we recognized the unmet financial needs of newspaper workers, who produced a product on the paper made by millworkers.

We changed our name to Spokane Media Credit Union and expanded membership to embrace people working for local media, specifically The Spokesman Review, and television and radio.

This strategic expansion was a testament to our adaptability and commitment to meeting the needs of the broader media community.

Change to Federal Charter – 1986: Originally we were a state charter credit union but our third President/CEO, Debie Keesee, recognized the opportunity to qualify for tax exemption by changing to a Federal Charter designation. We made the change and added the “Federal” to our legal name. Thus: Spokane Media Federal Credit Union.

Expansion and Evolution – 2000-2007: The internet changed the world; and it would impact the media industry, too. Online opportunities, plus the rapid advancement of technology, which made high quality camera and film equipment more affordable, paved the way for “Mom-and-Pop” media shops to open and thrive.

This directly benefited traditional media by creating more affordable production of print and TV advertising, both turning into revenue for newspapers, television and radio stations. Similar to how we expanded from millworkers to newspaper employees, we extended our membership to local Film Production, Marketing, and Advertising companies which became an important part the media industry as a whole.

Adding Media Credit Union as a trade name – 2023: Sarah Dahmen, our fourth (and current) President/CEO, identified the need for a rebrand. As part of this effort, we wanted to acknowledge growing geographical footprint and the members we have outside the Spokane area.

While keeping our legal name Spokane Media Federal Credit Union for our NCUA Charter, we added a trade name, or “Doing Business As” (DBA), so our members and the general public could immediately identify us as the union that serves the Media.

Today – Since our founding, the media industry has constantly evolved, but the goal for our credit union remains the same. We uphold the universal credit union mantra of “People Helping People,” or more specifically for our membership – “Storytellers Helping Storytellers.”

We became a financial institution for media professionals so they could benefit from our not-for-profit financial cooperative during times of success and times of need.

Evolution and the Future – We are seeking input for our next field of membership expansion and your 2 cents is welcomed!

If you consider yourself a media professional, fill out this Survey to tell us who you are, what you do, and why you and/or your company should qualify for membership.

With the evolution of social media and online content creators in the creative economy, we want to make sure our credit union continues to adapt to serve the needs of new media workers.

We plan to remain a boutique credit union dedicated to media professionals, especially those underserved by other financial institutions. Please tell us YOUR story and how we can help.

From our modest beginning with a shoebox over 85 years ago to the thriving credit union we are today, we remain dedicated to members in the media profession and the stories they create.

We believe stories shape the world and make our community stronger. We also understand financial stability is the cornerstone of creativity and innovation.

It is our mission to honor our rich history.

Why choose media credit union?

Member Owned: As a not-for-profit organization, any extra money made is returned to members through better rates on loans and savings, lower fees, or additional services.

Community Focused: We focus on serving the financial needs of our local communities, which benefits the community we live in. Members help each other financially, creating a supportive and collaborative environment.

(509) 838-8960
6103 N Astor St.
Spokane, WA 99208