Get to know Julie Ranson, local First Fed District Manager

There’s something about Whatcom County that draws people in. Often our incredible geographic features are the initial attraction, but it’s the people and the sense of community that keeps people staying. These are the qualities that attracted Julie Ranson to First Fed.

In his 33 years in banking, Ranson felt too many customers were treated like numbers. While not looking for change, the community culture of the First Fed had strong appeal. So she jumped at the chance to join the team as District Branch Manager.

“First Fed customers are treated like family,” says Ranson. “They walk through the door and everyone knows their name. It’s like Cheers. It’s quite incredible.

Ranson grew up in Lynden, a small town near the Canadian border. After graduating from Lynden High School, she took a job as a bank teller, which set her on the path that became her career. Ranson rose through the ranks to senior positions at various banks in the region.

Her management background has prepared her for her current management position, which she began in January 2022. Ranson works out of the Fairhaven branch and oversees all Whatcom County branches – Fairhaven, Barkley and Ferndale. Ranson says everyone has been great to work with and she looks forward to helping her team grow, while growing alongside them.

Ranson says First Fed operates in a way that appeals to people who care about what they do and the community it impacts. The result is to retain and develop a top-notch team of talented and dedicated professionals. In 2021, First Fed was recognized as a “Best Place to Work” by the Puget Sound Business Journal and a “Best Bank in the State” by Forbes.

Julie Ranson with First Fed Regional Retail Manager Troy Wills. Photo courtesy of First Fed

“First Fed is passionate about what I am passionate about: helping customers find the best products and building those relationships, and the community,” says Ranson.

This community orientation means a lot to her. As someone who grew up in Whatcom County, she loves being part of a company that lets her give back — and First Fed puts its money where its mouth is. Ranson and his team recently organized a $5,000 donation to local nonprofits that provide community support. First Fed also provides each employee with 24 hours of paid time each year to volunteer.

In her brief time at the bank, Ranson has already put those volunteer hours to good use in the community through her role as a board member and committee chair for Domestic Violence Services and of sexual assault (DVSAS). She’s thrilled that First Fed is paying her for doing something she’s passionate about and is doing for free. Ranson appreciates the cumulative effect on the community of each employee receiving this benefit.

When he’s not working or volunteering, Ranson loves to travel – and even strives to do so by giving back locally. She recently returned from her second trip to Belize, which she won at a Rotary auction. While she enjoyed soaking up the tropical climate, she was even more in awe of the locals. “People are so nice. I would pick out a few bracelets that were $20 and try to slip an extra $5 as a hidden tip,” Ranson recalled. “Each time they would count it and say, ‘No ma’am, you overpaid’ and try to tip me back.”

Ranson takes advantage of the PNW on the outside. Photo courtesy Julie Ranson

She hopes her next trip will be to Tuscany, which she bought at another charity auction but has been put on hold due to COVID. While waiting for this trip, Ranson and her boyfriend, Mark, will be spending time outdoors enjoying all the beauty of Whatcom County. One of their favorite activities is going out in their boat to fish for crabs and shrimp.

Ranson has two grown children who also live in Whatcom County, just five minutes apart. Her son is in the construction industry and her daughter has followed in her footsteps with a career in banking.

Ranson’s long-term plan is to continue enjoying life in Whatcom County in between overseas trips while making the most of his role with First Fed. She is excited to help the bank continue to grow while keeping its collective values ​​at the forefront.

Meet Julie and her team members at First Fed branches during Customer Appreciation Week running Friday, March 18-25, 2022. Enjoy treats and be entered into a raffle for a gift basket featuring local businesses.

First Fed Fairhaven branch in Bellingham.

First Fed is a member of the FDIC and an equal housing lender. See First Fed open positions in whatcom county.

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Daniel E. Murphy