Financial & Business Services

Financial & Business Services

Cluster Snapshot


Data Sources: Washington State Employment Security Department, 2015; Washington State Department of Revenue, 2015; Washington Military Alliance; Washington Aerospace Economic Impacts 2016 Update; US International Trade Administration, 2014. All data is King County. 


Melinda GoforthVice President of Business Development
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Quick Stats

  • There are 8,500 public and private financial services entities statewide that provide 131,800 direct jobs
  • The financial services sector supported nearly 314,500 jobs in 2010 and generated $27 billion in revenues
  • Thanks to technology, more and more financial services companies are enjoying the freedom to base operations where it best suits their needs.
  • And Seattle/King County is increasingly becoming a hub of major financial players who want their headquarters far from the negativity conjured up by Wall Street.

Ideal growing market

As a center for innovative industries such as technology, aerospace, and life science, the Seattle area is home to thousands of startups and educated, up-and-coming professionals. In addition, the region offers one of the best lifestyles in the country, making it an attractive option for employees. So in addition to offering a broad base of potential customers, this region is great for attracting and keeping top talent.

Locals who shop local

Seattle and King County residents are fiercely loyal to locally-based businesses large and small. The affinity for “homegrown” brands has contributed significantly to the meteoric growth of companies like Starbucks and Russell Investments. And with the Northwest’s more laid-back reputation across the country, financial services brands can finally use their location as a selling point instead of a drawback. Financial Services Cluster Study – 2013 Update 

Financial Services Cluster Study – Commissioned by the EDC in 2011 to study the Financial Services Cluster in the state of Washington (link: WA State Financial Services Strategic Plan – Developed by the Washington State Financial Services Collaborative 

In 2011, the Financial Services Cluster in Washington State is building momentum and opportunities for company and job growth within the Cluster. The Cluster is also developing long-term partnerships with other Washington State industry clusters. Companies in Washington State demonstrate innovative leadership in applying technology and breaking ground with new financial products. This innovation advances the industry throughout the world.

The Financial Services Cluster spans six subsectors, which align with the U.S. Census Bureau’s North American Industrial Classification System (NAICS).

The subsectors include:

  • Accounting;
  • Banking;
  • Credit and Lending;
  • Financial Investing;
  • Insurance;
  • and Public Finance

Some companies participate in more than one subsector, and most companies in each subsector collaborate with other subsectors. Each subsector has its own trends and trajectory in Washington, which are described in the next sections. Nearly every person and business in Washington State partners with a financial institution in some way to drive the state economy.

The Washington Financial Services Cluster employed 131,800 jobs and generated approximately $27 billion in revenues in 2010. Economic activity in the Washington Financial Services Cluster supports an additional 182,700 jobs and $31.3 billion in revenues elsewhere in Washington’s economy in 2010. Institutional investors and businesses from around the world see Washington as a centerpiece of their “US innovation” investment portfolio. Institutions from around the world look to Washington financial firms to provide local expertise and strategic partnerships when investing in local companies and sectors.

Here are just a few more strengths of the local Financial Services industry:

  • Financial Services companies leverage our regional strengths in information technology to advance their internal operations and develop new products
  • Proximity to Asia and technology expertise position Washington for long-term global relevance
  • Tax advantages of no Washington State income tax
  • Local VCs foster workforce development in start-ups
  • Experience and workforce specialization in middle market investment 
  • Washington Bankers Association - The Washington Bankers Association represents commercial banks operating in every county of the state, ranging in size from large multi-state financial institutions to smaller, family-owned and community-based banks.
  • Seattle Mortgage Bankers Association - SMBA provides a channel for information sharing, charitable giving, and scholarship funding to its members. The association also acts as educator and advocate alongside the Washington Mortgage Lenders Association. 


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