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Our Story

Originally chartered in 1964, Waterfront Federal Credit Union is a not-for-profit, member-owned financial cooperative. We are a dedicated, unionized partner with a closed field of membership, allowing us to provide the unique and individualized service our members expect and cannot find anywhere else.

Waterfront Credit Union was created by Leon R. Smith after a 10 year undertaking. He started pursuing his vision in 1954 while working for Todd’s Shipyard and persevered despite resistance. Later, he began working for ILWU and finally gained the support he needed to start the Credit Union in 1964. The first Board of Directors were Ray Nelson, Art Mink and Jon Halgren. The original charter was open to members belonging to ILWU 9, 19, 52 and 98 along with the direct employees of the Pacific Maritime Association (PMA). The key to the early success of the Credit Union came from knowing the members, working with them day in and day out, while holding them accountable to their financial obligations.

Over time additional unions were added to the charter as similar financial needs were discovered in other unionized industries in the Puget Sound region. In 2008 the Credit Union was awarded the vacation funds from the Plumber & Pipefitter Local 32 and absorbed Northwest Navigational Credit Union.

As of 2021, the Credit Union has approximately 6,706 members and $93 million in assets.

Our Mission

To have a union staff promote the financial well-being of our union workers and their families, with personal service and understanding of the unique characteristics of our industries.

Officials & Staff

Justin Hirsch, Board Chair

Justin Hirsch is the Chairman of the Board.  He began as a volunteer on the Supervisory Committee in 2009 and has been serving as a member of the board since 2012.

Richard Gurtiza, Vice Chair

Greetings Sisters and Brothers, Thank you for allowing me to serve as a Director on the Board of our own financial institution Waterfront Federal Credit Union since 2015.  In 1985 I worked at Washington Mutual Saving Bank as a Marketing Representative for 3 years at the home office in downtown Seattle.I retired from the Inlandboatmen’s Union of the Pacific, Region 27 in December 2020 after first joining the Union in 1977.  I received a BA from the University of Washington in Speech Communication and a MPA from the UW Evans School of Public Policy & Governance. I was President for 10 years of the Filipino American Political Action Group of Washington.  I’d been a delegate for many years on the Washington State and King County Labor Councils and had served on the King County Labor Council, Executive Board for several terms.  I was a founding member of the Asian Pacific American Labor Alliance, AFL/CIO and the first National Secretary of the organization. I currently serve as a member of the Harry Bridges Center for Labor Studies Standing Committee at the University of Washington.

Kurt Romischer, Secretary/Treasurer

Kurt Romischer is the current Secretary/Treasurer of the Board.  He began in a volunteer capacity in the early 2000s, serving on different committees, along with other family members.  Besides being an ILWU Clerk for Local 52, he owns a tax practice that is located in the Credit Union building.

Tyler Linsten, Director

Tyler Linsten is a CFA charterholder and registered Class A Longshoreman with Local 19.  He began serving the Credit Union on the Supervisory Committee in 2018, currently serves on the Board and is a member of the Investment/ALM Committee.

William T. Lassiter, Director

William T Lassiter is a long-time volunteer who has held several positions dating back to June 1968. He currently serves on the Board of Directors and Credit Committee. He has seen the credit union grow from the ground up. He is a retired Longshoreman with over 40 years in ILWU Local 19. He believes in credit union history and is passionate about service to our members. He is a strong supporter of union members helping union members.

Katharine Sweeney, Director

Captain Katharine Sweeney was elected to the board in May 2017, and again in May 2019.  Capt. Sweeney sailed for Matson Navigation and is a proud pensioner of the International Organization of Master, Mates and Pilots.  Currently Capt. Sweeney is CEO of Compliance Maritime, provider of expert legal witness, independent internal investigations as well as auditing of security, safety, quality and environmental management systems for vessel operators.  Captain Sweeney is an experienced Master Mariner, safety expert and licensed pilot with over 33 years in the Maritime Industry Proudest board moment - After a long, arduous, and time-consuming and multi-year process, coming to the realization that the best choice to lead the Credit Union was with us the whole time, and we promoted from within. That choice has served us well, as we have flourished despite the myriad of challenges since the current taking the position.

Proudest overall accomplishment - being onboard from the start of negotiations for purchasing the Fauntleroy building, watching the build out, using union labor, and now having a branch that we own and creates income.

Zachary Ramels, Director

Zach Ramels is the chair of the Supervisory Committee and a member of the Board of Directors.  He began his career in investment management. He is a CFA charterholder as well as a member of ILWU Local 19.  He has been a member of the credit union since childhood and was interested in using his skills and background as a volunteer.

  • William T. Lassiter, Committee Chair
  • Chris Romischer
  • Richard Gurtiza

  • Zachary Ramels, Chair
  • Elizabeth Stegriy-Burke
  • Kathryn Robbins
  • Lanita Williams

Supervisory Committee mailing address:

6419 Fauntleroy Way SW
Seattle, WA 98136

Supervisory Committee email address:

Michelle C - President/CEO

  • Elizabeth B - VP Branch Operations
  • Tanesha A - Branch Manager
  • Carla J - Lead
  • Jordon B-G
  • Simon A.

  • Elizabeth B - VP Branch Operations
  • Tanesha A - Branch Manager
  • Carla J - Lead
  • Jack C
  • Angela N.

  • Brenda B - Vice President of Lending
  • Roxanne L
  • Joann M
  • Brenda R

  • Crissy E - Vice President of Finance
  • Valori F
  • Judy B

There are no current job openings at this time. 

If you have an outgoing personality, great communication skills, and a knack for problem solving, we would love to have you join our team! Passion and people skills are what we are looking for. Our membership base is closed and employment requires membership in Local 8 OPEIU. (Our members and staff are union-based).

Employment at Waterfront Credit Union offers a supportive working environment, as well as:

  • Generous amount of annual paid time off
  • Medical, Dental, and Eye Care coverage for staff and dependents
  • 6% 401K & Profit-Sharing Plan with additional 4% match
  • Long-Term Disability and Life Insurance
  • Compensation DOE