LANCASTER, Pa. (1/17/08)--The growth of Mennonite Financial FCU in recent years was the focus of a Jan. 11 article in the Central Penn Business Journal. The $80.2 million asset, Lancaster, Pa.-based credit union has entered into a partnership with Mennonite Mutual Aid--a Goshen, Ind.-based insurance and investment provider with connections to Mennonite Church USA--to offer investment and insurance services and to continue growing, according to the article. The partnership makes sense because members were telling the credit union they wanted access to additional services, and Mennonite Mutual was considering how to offer banking services, Kent Hartzler, Mennonite Financial president/CEO, told the journal. In the past six years, the credit union has more than doubled its assets to about $80 million, and Hartzler said he expects to see--at a minimum--that same rate of growth continue. Mennonite Financial also grew its membership for that same period to 10,000 members from 6,700. In the next five to 10 years, the credit union intends to open 10 to 20 branches while sharing employment expenses with Mennonite Mutual, Hartzler told the journal. Mennonite Mutual would subsidize the cost of branch space, he added, noting that this arrangement would free up capital for Mennonite Financial to grow its loan business. Although the details have not been ironed out, the two organizations intend to offer each other’s products and services to members, the article said. Mennonite Financial’s efforts in this partnership are similar to what other midsize credit unions are attempting, Mike Wishnow, executive vice president of communications and public relations for the Pennsylvania Credit Union Association, said in the article. Some credit unions go through their cooperative networks, while others form a partnership with nonprofit or for-profit organizations to deliver these services, he added. However, there is one difference that separates Mennonite Financial’s efforts from others, Wishnow told the journal. “They’ve found an interesting way to weave Mennonite principles into a business model that works for that community,” he concluded.