The University of Idaho and Idaho Central Credit Union are joining forces on a new arena to serve Vandal Hoops and the Vandal family.
It was during a recent University of Idaho basketball game that Kent Oram first learned the words to the Vandal fight song.
Fans in the Cowan Spectrum shouted the lyrics to “Go Vandals, Go” so often during the Dec. 6 victory over Washington State University that by the end of the game, Oram was able to sing along.
It’s the kind of excitement the CEO of Idaho Central Credit Union likes to bring when entering a market around the state. Enthusiasm for the people of Idaho, along with the statewide mission shared by both ICCU and U of I, is a big part of what’s bringing the two institutions together to build the new Idaho Central Credit Union Arena.
“As soon as I heard about it, I thought that will play well for Idaho Central Credit Union,” Oram said, “That would work well for ICCU and the university.”
ICCU is contributing a major gift in January 2018 to the engineered wood arena, slated to be named for the credit union when it is constructed to the north of the ASUI-Kibbie Activity Center. Upon construction, the 4,200-capacity Idaho Central Credit Union Arena will serve as the home court for men’s and women’s basketball teams, as well as offer a new venue for events on the Palouse.
“We hope that we bring energy,” he said. “What we hope to get in return is partnership with the community. We’re hoping we’re going to give as much as we receive.”
While the arena will formalize the partnership, ICCU and U of I have shared space on the same trails since the credit union’s founding in 1940. Headquartered in Chubbuck, ICCU has a statewide mission to serve the financial needs of Idahoans through 33 locations and 1,000 employees across much of Idaho. It serves as the leading mortgage and auto lender in the state.
U of I’s own statewide presence – with centers in Boise, Coeur d’Alene and Idaho Falls, a research and Extension center in Twin Falls and Extension offices in 42 counties – provides the match ICCU is looking for in a partner, Oram said.
“We intend to be a financial partner and a community partner, and really we are already in a lot of places where the University of Idaho operates and we’re hoping to grow more,” he said.
“This is a natural partnership for our institution,” U of I President Chuck Staben said. “ICCU is a values-driven, service-driven organization that cares about the state of Idaho and its people. That resonates with us. We’re proud to spotlight that connection on a facility that exemplifies Idaho excellence and is meant for not just our students but for Idaho.”
Oram has had a front-row seat for ICCU’s rise as the state’s premier financial services company. ICCU had just 25 employees and $30 million in assets when he started at the company 34 years ago as the credit union’s lone data processing employee. Oram became CEO in 2007, and that portfolio has grown from $600 million in assets to $3.5 billion over the past decade.
“We’re very well-known in southern Idaho, getting more well-known in North Idaho, Coeur d’Alene, Hayden, Post Falls. This is just a way for just to build our brand in a new area,” Oram said.
Oram said the company is proud to have helped residents of Idaho with their financial security.
The opportunity for ICCU to name the future home of Vandal hoops came at the right time, Oram said, though the credit union is no stranger supporting Idaho’s universities. The company’s logo, alongside its signature trucks with blinking green lights, has long been a presence at institutional events. ICCU also sponsors an annual “Battle of the Domes” basketball matchup between U of I and Idaho State University.
The credit union is even an enthusiastic supporter of Vandal graduates: As many as 10 percent of ICCU employees are Vandal alumni.
“We like to bring excitement and energy everywhere we go,” Oram said. “A little bit monetary, but hopefully more than that — we bring an attitude.”
ICCU wants to be more than just the name on a building, Oram said. The goal is to become a positive force and partner in the greater Moscow community.
“Really, it’s ‘here we come, University of Idaho,’” he said. “We’re looking forward to it.”
Article by Brad Gary, University Communications and Marketing