UNION — Even though it opened without fanfare and had to deal with the impact of a winter storm the new Founders Federal Credit Union office gained 25 new members in its first week in operation.
In a statement released Friday, Founders Federal Credit Union announced the opening its Union office at 523A N. Duncan Bypass, Union. The office is the company’s first in Union and with its opening Founders now has 24 offices and three service centers in North Carolina and South Carolina serving a total of 196,000 members. The company currently has more than $1.6 billion in assets.
“This expansion has long been a part of our strategic plan,” Founders President and CEO Bruce Brumfield said. “We are excited to be in Union, and this expansion will help satisfy the needs of our members. We welcome this opportunity to continually serve our members in their community.”
Nicki Nash, Senior Vice President for Marketing and Community Relations for Founders, said Friday morning that the Union office actually opened for business the previous Friday.
“It was a soft opening,” Nash said. “We like to do that in our market areas, work out any kinks or issues we might have and make sure we’re ready for the membership.”
Less than a week after it opened, the Founders office, like the rest of Union County, had to cope with the winter storm that brought snow, ice, and below freezing temperatures Tuesday afternoon, creating hazardous traffic conditions that kept many people off the roads on Wednesday. Nash, however, pointed out that while the weather was a problem, it did not prevent the Union office from continuing the growth Founders has experienced in Union County in recent years. She said that as of the end of 2013, Founders had almost 2,000 members in the Union area, adding that in the week since it opened, another 25 local residents have joined the credit union through the new office.
Its growing membership in Union County and the desire of that membership to have a local office lead to the decision by Founders to open the Union office.
Ann Hayes, Vice President for Founders in Union, Chester, and Laurens counties, said that many of the Union members were driving to the company’s Chester, Laurens, Spartanburg, and Gaffney offices to do business. Nash said that these members asked for Founders to establish an office in Union to make it more convenient for them take advantage of the services it offers.
The Union office provides insurance services, investment services, and financial counseling to its members who Nash described as shareholders in Founders.
“We are a full service financial institution,” Nash said. “Credit unions are not for profit, we operate under a volunteer board of directors. We don’t have stockholders, our members are our shareholders.”
Nash added that another difference between Founders and a bank, is that “we don’t typically do the commercial business banks do.”
Instead, Nash said Founders pursues a strategy of growth through partnering with businesses to provide their employees with membership in the credit union as a free benefit. Nash said it doesn’t cost the companies or other organizations anything to partner with Founders and those employees who opt to take advantage of membership in the credit union can do so by opening an account with nothing more than a $5 deposit. She said there are no fees involved and that the initial deposit a person who qualifies to be a member makes is theirs.
“By opening a savings account with us with that $5 deposit it makes you a shareholder and enables you to take advantage of credit union services,” Nash said. “There is no membership fee and your initial deposit is yours.”
To qualify for membership in the credit union, a person must be a member of the company or organization that has partnered with Founders and/or have an immediate family member who already has a membership.
A number of businesses and other organizations in Union County are already partners with Founders including the City of Union, Wallace Thomson Hospital, Standard Textiles, ESAB, the Dollar General Distribution Center, and Spectra Colorants.
Nash said that any company, church or organization interested in partnering with Founders can send a letter expressing their interest in providing its services as a benefit to their employees. She said companies seeking more information on partnering with Founders should call 1-800-845-1614 or go online at foundersfcu.com.
In addition to its plans for growth, Nash said Founders plans to be deeply involved in the community in other ways as well. She said that involvement includes sponsorships for Union County High School’s athletic program and a donation to the planned Union Events Center totaling $25,000 over the next five years.
“We’re here to stay,” Nash said. “We’re here to invest in this community.”
Located at 523A N. Duncan Bypass, Union, the Founders Federal Credit Union employs a staff of six including three tellers, a members service representative, a lender, and a loan processor. It is open from 8:30 a.m.-5 p.m. Monday-Thursday and 8:30 a.m.-6 p.m. Friday. The drive-up window opens at 8 a.m. each day.
For more information about the office and its services call 864-424-7100.
Charles Warner can be reached at 864-427-1234, Ext. 14.