Craft3 announces intention to expand to Eastern Washington

By: Jennifer Janda - Jan 26, 2015
Source: City of Spokane

New office is first step in regional expansion effort in Washington

Craft3 announced today that it will open an office in Spokane, Washington to serve the Eastern Washington region (Spokane, Ferry, Stevens, Pend Oreille, Lincoln, Adams and Whitman Counties). Craft3 is a nonprofit Community Development Financial Institution (CDFI) lender with a mission to strengthen economic, ecological and family resilience in Pacific Northwest communities.

“After leading the initiative to target investment in East Sprague I approached Craft3 about locating an office in Spokane,” explained Ben Stuckart, President of the Spokane City Council. “Having the PNW's largest CDFI in Spokane will provide economic opportunities for countless new businesses in Spokane. The City is thrilled to have this proven, successful organization coming to town. It shows Spokane is moving in the right direction!”

Craft3 was founded in 1994 in Ilwaco, Wash. The institution has invested over $322 million from offices in Ilwaco, Port Angeles and Seattle, Wash. and Astoria, Bend and Portland, Ore. It provides loans to businesses that create or retain jobs, nonprofits that provide essential services to their communities, and municipalities and Tribal governments for community facilities and economic development efforts. Craft3 also provides loans to homeowners to repair failing septic systems or install energy-efficiency measures.

"Empire Health Foundation is pleased to announce our partnership with Craft3, which will assist them with their opening of an Eastern Washington location. Craft3's commitment to positive results in areas that impact social determinants of health aligns with EHF's drive to create a measurably healthier region,” said Antony Chiang, Empire Health Foundation President. “Along with their philosophy of investing beyond the check, a model that we hold strong to, this is a natural partnership and we look forward to the positive benefits this will bring."

“Our expansion to Eastern Washington is the next step in our efforts to put feet on the ground in key regional centers east of the Cascades. This was possible with the support of the Spokane City Council, Empire Health Foundation and the Northwest Area Foundation,” said John Berdes, Craft3 President. “We look forward to furthering our relationship with these organizations and in every community in the seven-county region”.

As a nonprofit, nonbank, CDFI, Craft3’s specialized staff craft flexible loan structures and manage higher-risk loans. Craft3 works with businesses unable to get bank financing because they are startups, have insufficient collateral or poor credit. Our lending decisions place emphasis on character, and strong and credible projections.

“We found that traditional lenders didn’t understand how to work with a business located on tribal land,” said Monica Simeon, co-owner of Sister Sky in Spokane, Washington. “Our current and future success is built on the critical step we took in finding Craft3, a lending partner who understood our entrepreneurial spirit, our drive and our determination.”

Craft3’s five year business plan calls for establishing offices in the Eastern and Central parts of Washington and Oregon by 2016. In May 2013, Craft3 opened its first office east of the Cascades in Bend, Oregon.

Two individuals have been selected to staff the new Eastern Washington office, with a Business Lender to be selected later this month. Brad Ferris is Craft3’s first local hire for the position of Commercial Credit Underwriter. He brings a strong credit background and has been in the lending industry for over ten years.

Jennifer Janda is Craft3’s Marketing Manager and will be relocating from Astoria, Oregon. She has been with the organization since 2004 and manages Craft3’s branding and communications efforts.