PORTLAND, Ore. – Safeway Northwest Credit Union, a former single sponsor CU serving employees of the Oakland, Calif. grocery chain here, has changed its name to Rivermark Community CU and now holds a community charter. The name and charter change took effect March 29 in a move designed to increase membership and reduce “confusion,” said the $300 million CU. Under the new charter, Rivermark with its five branches and founded in 1951 is giving up its SEG orientation to operate in six Oregon counties: Mulnomah, Clackamas, Polk, Marion, Yamhill and Washington In addition to 750 SEGs, the 40,000 member CU has been serving employees and families of Safeway Inc., through its Portland Division serving stores in Oregon and southwest Washington State. “The old name was an impediment,” explained Lesley Carrell, vice president of marketing, since potential members “did not understand they were eligible to join” unless they had been a Safeway employee. A new Web site plus new radio and newspaper ads began running this month promoting the new name, which was picked, she said, because the Portland geography contains the intersection of two northwest rivers, the Columbia and Willamette. The idea of rivers “flowing” and “mark” demonstrates”movement and a mark of excellence,” said Carrell. Besides, “no other financial institution in Portland has river in its name,” she said. Rivermark, she said, does have plans to add additional branches in the six counties, with a concentration first on metropolitan Portland but with an initial branch planned in Salem, the state capital, later in 2004. -

jrubenscut@aol.com