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CU showcases inner city services for NCUA chairman
SOUTH BEND, Ind. (1/28/09)--National Credit Union Administration (NCUA) Chairman Michael Fryzel visited CommunityWide FCU, reinforcing and praising the South Bend, Ind.-based credit union’s efforts to provide financial services, counsel and education to its inner-city members.
Click to view larger image From left, Indiana Credit Union League President John McKenzie; CommunityWide FCU Chief Operating Officer Andrew Burggraf; Head Teller Jen Robinson; National Credit Union Administration Chairman Michael Fryzel; CommunityWide FCU Regional Manager Shannon Anders; Loan Operations Manager Melissa Luchowski; Member Services Manager Judy Murphy; Regional Manager Cindy Burggraf; Administrative Assistant Deb Krempec; and Accounting Manager Paula Rajski gather during Fryzel’s recent visit to the credit union. (Photo provided by the Indiana Credit Union League)
Fryzel visited the credit union earlier this month. CommunityWide Chief Operating Officer Andrew Burggraf, and Indiana Credit Union League President John McKenzie hosted the meeting. “I am extremely impressed with CommunityWide FCU’s innovative and energetic approaches to member service,” Fryzel said. “This credit union is clearly having a positive impact in its community by providing fairly priced financial services and financial education to low- and moderate-income consumers.” Fryzel met with credit union staff who oversee lending. Discussion covered the credit union’s lending philosophy of taking extra time to look at the big picture--even if the borrower’s credit score is lower than preferred--to explore if there is still a basis for approving a loan. Burggraf said that Fryzel’s “Interest and input regarding our business model and effectiveness in serving all sectors of the community was very timely as we implement our pro-growth strategy by opening other full-service offices in other communities outside the South Bend area. “While other industries are struggling with economic downturn, CommunityWide is forging ahead with its mission of serving our members’ interests with quality financial products, convenient full-service locations, and the pursuit of fine member service,” he added. Fryzels’ conversation with CommunityWide FCU staff covered the credit union’s history, its approach to serving its members and its operating strategies. CommunityWide FCU was created in 1967 to serve inner city residents of South Bend. Seed money was provided by the Catholic Church. A significant portion of the credit union’s membership comprises minorities. It has been successful in serving the Hispanic community in South Bend since the 1980s, said the league. CommunityWide FCU offers payroll loans and other small loans that help members avoid the high costs of traditional payday loans. Fryzel’s visit also focused on how the credit union grew from $1.7 million in assets in the early 1980s to $181 million today. CommunityWide accomplished this by emphasizing its mission of offering financial services at a minimum expense, along with financial counseling and education, while marketing primarily through word of mouth and the visibility of new branches placed in areas close to neighborhoods. CommuntyWide’s growth included mergers with seven small credit unions as those employee groups were impacted by economic downturns and plant closings.
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