Spokane Journal of Business

Meet & Greet with Idaho Central Credit Union’s Manny Hochheimer


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Manny Hochheimer has stepped into a new role as the assistant vice president of Washington branches at Idaho Central Credit Union after a decade with Numerica Credit Union and over 20 years in the financial services industry.

In his new position, Hochheimer will lead the expansion of ICCU into a new financial market and new state through workforce growth and the creation of a four-branch network in the Spokane area.  

Hochheimer was born in Germany and moved to the U.S. at age 5 with his parents and two siblings, when his father, a high-pressure physicist, accepted a job at the Los Alamos National Laboratory, located 35 miles northwest of Santa Fe, New Mexico.

In 1988, the family moved to Fort Collins, Colorado. Hochheimer grew up immersed in American culture and spendt summer vacations in Germany.

Hochheimer began his career in financial services as a teller at a 1STBank branch near Colorado State University, where he was an undergraduate. He quickly moved through the ranks, and by his third year, he was promoted to branch manager, then regional manager.

Hochheimer moved to Spokane in 2011 with his wife, Vange Ocasio Hochheimer, an associate professor of economics at Whitworth University.

Since moving here, he has immersed himself in the financial services industry and the Spokane community through his involvement with local organizations such as Rotary 21 Club, the Cathedral of St. John’s Foundation, and Washington State University Spokane Health Sciences Advisory Council. 

The Journal recently sat down with Hochheimer to discuss his career in financial services and what he hopes to accomplish in his new role.

What made you go from Numerica Credit Union to Idaho Central Credit Union?

I love to build and create. I didn’t take this move lightly at all. I had deep conversations with a lot of people and especially my mentor, Jennifer Lehn. At the end of the day, everybody, especially Jennifer Lehn, said “You would be a fool not to join (ICCU).”

For me personally, this is every banker’s dream: To build and create a brand-new market, let alone in a new state.

That doesn’t happen when you’re 41 years old. So, this opportunity to come in and build and create and use all of my experience and all of my intellect and connections and put that whole picture together and be a part of that? I couldn’t not do this. This is the right step in the right time of my life. It’s a heck of an opportunity. 

How is ICCU planning to grow in this region?

It was just a natural fit for ICCU to come into our Spokane community. There is a lot of what I call cross-pollination between Eastern Washington and northern Idaho. So, it was a good fit as far as our membership needs.

The plan was to bring a downtown location online in the Spokane region. And this building, 41 W. Riverside, the old Banner Bank building, is the perfect location for it. It helps to redevelop the vibrancy that downtown and Riverside Avenue needs. This building is a staple. It’s right between Sprague Avenue and Riverside, it takes up a big chunk of space. We are doing a lot of redevelopment and beautification, too.

This branch had its soft opening in March and grand opening in May. It’s been amazing because it’s not just a branch. We’re on TV. We’re on radio. We’re on billboards. We’re on sponsorships. We’re already ingrained in the community because we knew we wanted to come and not just plop up a branch. We wanted to be fully encompassed and ingrained in our community.

Are there plans for any more branches? 

Our next branch is going to be our North Spokane branch that is on Highway 2 and Holland Avenue by the Target at the Northpointe Plaza shopping center. We are opening that one in September.

We’ve already purchased the land in the Spokane Valley and Liberty Lake for two more locations. Those will be new builds. The Valley branch will be on Broadway Avenue and the Liberty Lake branch will be by the fire station. It will be our four-branch network. The goal is for the Valley location to open in the first quarter of next year, and the Liberty branch to open in quarter three of next year.

What obstacles do you foresee as you grow this network?

Hiring. I think that’s going to be the biggest obstacle. Not at the management level but at the entry and midrange levels.

What I’m going to try to personalize and target is finding people who have positivity and joy. I don’t care if they are a barista or furniture salesperson or academic. If you’re a good person and have positivity and joy, you’ll fit well in the financial services industry. So, I’m going to try and find and figure out how to source the right sort of people who want to be a part of this journey and grow into their career.

What initially brought you into the financial services industry?

My wife, Vange. We were at Colorado State University together. She was a graduate student, and I was the perpetual undergrad. I was working in sales before I met Vange. Car sales and furniture sales. And I was really good at it, but in sales, you are working all the time, 70 to 80 hours a week, nights, and weekends. I was trying to balance school and working full time and not really getting very far with school. When I met Vange, she had a heart-to-heart with me to say, you can’t continue this lifestyle. Yes, you make good money, but you’re always gone. So, if you ever want a real relationship and a family and everything, you’re going to need to figure out how to finish school, which was key. Figure out a job that matches the lifestyle you want to have if you want to have a wife and family.

So, she opened a newspaper—back then you still had newspapers for jobs—and she goes, ‘Look, 1STBank is hiring for a teller.’ It was the college branch near CSU. She said, why don’t you apply for that, and that way you can do more school and still work. So, I did. Out of the 88 people that applied, I got it. I felt lucky and blessed. And that’s how I started my career in the financial services industry—Vange picking out a newspaper ad.

What advice do you give someone starting their career in finance?

If you’re married, listen to your wife. 

For some reason, I’ve always been blessed with mentors and advocates who have taken me under their wing in my life. Be your genuine, authentic self. Let that show, and when someone does come and offers to put you under their wing, take that. Because with their life and personal experience, they see something in you. They are going to help you grow and evolve your strengths. That’s the key advice I have is take mentorship and advocacy and be your authentic self.

What do you look forward to the most in your new endeavor?

Building and creating. The green team, it’s going to be a party. It’s a fun culture to be a part of. We all get to touch and build and create from the ground up. What more fulfillment could you possibly want in life than getting to do something like that? Then you get to look back in life and say, ‘That’s cool. I had a part in that.’

This interview has been edited for length and clarity.

Karina Elias
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Reporter Karina Elias covers the banking and finance industry. A California native, she attended the University of California at Santa Barbara. Karina loves salsa dancing, traveling, baking, cuddling with her dog, and writing creative fiction and non-fiction.  

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