Rantz: Major credit union to close Seattle branches over crime

Jan 2, 2023, 5:01 PM | Updated: 8:34 pm
Seattle Credit Union...
Seattle Credit Union, the members-owned credit union, is closing its Georgetown and Rainier Valley branches effective Feb. 3. (Courtesy of Seattle Credit Union)
(Courtesy of Seattle Credit Union)

Seattle Credit Union customers learned just before the New Year that two branches will be closing due to the city’s rampant crime. The news comes as multiple Starbucks locations have closed over the same concern.

“Ensuring the physical safety of our members and staff both in and around our branch offices has become increasingly difficult at these locations. Your personal safety, as well as your financial well-being and banking preferences, are important to us, representing the key variables in our decision,” a Dec. 30 email explained to customers.

The members-owned credit union is closing its Georgetown and Rainier Valley branches effective Feb. 3. Company leadership fielded concerns from customers and staff that the areas were not safe enough.

‘I’m not moving, and I’ve got guns’: Drug dealer stakes claim to Seattle business

Threats, vandalism, and break-ins

A spokesperson for Seattle Credit Union cited verbal threats and frequent vandalism and break-ins for the closures.

“Our mission to guide households, individuals, and businesses to a position of financial prosperity require environments free of verbal threats of harm, damaged property, excessive onsite security, and frequent closures resulting from vandalism and/or break-ins,” a spokesperson told the Jason Rantz Show on KTTH.

They were working with Seattle Police to address the concerns, but it has become too dangerous and costly to keep the locations open.

The trend continues

In September, Bartell Drugs announced it was closing its Chinatown-International District location after relentless theft and vandalism.

“I knew it was coming, given the number of robberies we had in the store,” said a Bartell’s employee to Northwest Asian Weekly. “But I am still sad and shocked. We have already built our relationship with customers.”

In downtown Seattle, scores of businesses, including Amazon, stayed remote or made alternative accommodations through much of 2022, also citing public safety concerns.

Yellow Butterfly Coffee in Seattle’s Pioneer Square has dealt with ongoing issues. Its owner, Robert, recently dealt with a drug dealer who refused to leave and camped out in front of his storefront.

“He says, ‘I’m not moving, and I got guns.’ Today, the same guy, he threatens me with a gun,” Robert told the Jason Rantz Show on KTTH.

The Seattle Credit Union closures were announced after weeks of contentious pushback from Starbucks union workers. Some claimed the coffee giant was feigning concern over public safety in order to punish organizers asking for higher pay and better benefits. They argued that crime wasn’t really an issue, with the union-friendly Seattle Times amplifying the false claims. This news should put that silly, politically motivated talking point to bed.

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Rantz: Major credit union to close Seattle branches over crime