United Communities Credit Union replacing current location

 

By Ron Giofu

 

United Communities Credit Union has officially announced its intention to construct a new branch in Amherstburg.

UCCU expansion UCCU expansion2The $2-million building will go on the same site as the current one, with the current location being torn down. The new building will be 4,500 square feet with the old location having been 2,200 square feet.

“It’s quite a change in terms of size and physical layout,” said United Communities Credit Union president and CEO Jim Lynn.

Lynn said the credit union likes to “refresh” its branches, noting new locations were built last year in Listowel and Goderich. The Amherstburg project was delayed one year due to last year’s projects elsewhere.

The new building should be complete by early next year.

“We’ve been part of the Amherstburg community for close to 20 years and have been in the current branch location for 15,” he said. “We felt the time was right to rebuild a state-of-the-art facility, enabling us to best serve our members and support future growth opportunities.”

The new location will have a larger community room that seats 16 that will be open to local non-profit groups for meeting space. It will also have a “flexible work space” for employees, Lynn stated, with it providing a more “friendly” atmosphere for staff and members. A 24-hour drive-thru ATM will be included on the new building, much like the current one had, although the credit unions states a walk-up ATM will also be available during the rebuild with $50 bills randomly placed into the ATM to thank the community and members “for their patience.”

The new building will also have “a full multi-media approach” to give members real-time financial information and rates.

“Our market has grown here,” Lynn added. “We have experienced significant growth in Amherstburg over the years and have simply outgrown the current location. The way people transact their business has changed and we are adapting and responding to that by offering a mix of remarkable personal service and the latest in technology.”

Lynn said the project was originally envisioned as a complete overhaul of the current building with the final result being tearing that down and starting fresh. He said it has been on the credit union’s “project list” for three years with the decision to build a new building having nothing to do with the new Windsor Family Credit Union opening just north of United Communities Credit Union on Sandwich St. S.

“This was already an investment we were going to make regardless,” said Lynn.

United Communities Credit Union currently has 11 branches and 200 staff members but should the proposed merger with Libro Financial Group go through in January 2014, it would make the new entity Ontario’s second largest credit union with 27 branches, 95,000 members and 550 staff.

Lynn said the goal is still to remain “big enough to serve you and small enough to know you.”

The new credit union would have a new name and Mayor Wayne Hurst wanted to defer commenting on what impact that would have on the town, and specifically the United Communities Credit Union Complex, until the town has an opportunity to meet with credit union officials over it.

The new building, however, was “great news” for Amherstburg, Hurst said.

“When you look at the renovations taking place in Amherstburg, those are things we are pleased and appreciative of,” he said.

United Communities Credit Union has played a “significant role” in Amherstburg and Hurst stated that staff there has brought “a level of service we all can enjoy.

“There is a need for expansion and improvements and they are doing just that,” he added.

The town’s infrastructure improvements help draw projects like the new United Communities Credit Union building, he believed.

“We’ve worked very hard to position ourselves,” said Hurst.

Town projects like the new wastewater treatment plant and the separation of combined sewers are two of the projects that help draw new investment and help the town grow, Hurst stated.

“These are the kinds of things you are going to see for years to come,” predicted Hurst.

United Communities Credit Union board chair Dennis Hogan was also happy with the announcement.

“We are embarking on some very exciting times of growth and expansion,” said Hogan. “The outcome will be a credit union with the strategic will, skills and capacity to help the families, businesses, farms and communities of southwestern Ontario secure a more prosperous future.”

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