FCCU receives national credit union awardFirst Community Credit Union was recognized earlier recently by a group that represents 90 percent of credit unions across the country. FCCU, headquartered in Jamestown, was the recipient of the 2012 Credit Union of the Year award presented by the Credit Union National Association.
By: By Ben Rodgers, The Jamestown Sun, The Jamestown Sun
First Community Credit Union was recognized earlier recently by a group that represents 90 percent of credit unions across the country.
FCCU, headquartered in Jamestown, was the recipient of the 2012 Credit Union of the Year award presented by the Credit Union National Association.
“I think what it means is just a reflection upon what our staff has been doing over the past several years as far as community involvement,” said Steve Schmitz, FCCU CEO. “That was one of the main focuses of it — how much you give back to the communities you’re in.”
FCCU has 14 branches in 12 cities across North Dakota. This past summer the credit union topped $400 million in assets, making it the largest credit union in North Dakota and the second largest in the Dakotas.
Schmitz said the award was based on the impact for members and the financial impact.
Unlike a bank, members own FCCU. This translates as profits returned for better services, accounts and rates on savings and loans.
“Credit unions are rated a lot by what they give back to the membership,” Schmitz said.
First Community also ranked in the top 10 or 20 percent nationwide for a number of categories including, return on assets, net worth to assets, equity level, earnings, loans to shares, and loans to deposits, to name a few.
Founded in 1939, FCCU also has the largest membership in North Dakota. One thing Schmitz said members enjoy is the online banking options for smart phones and tablets.
“Credit unions have not been typically as advanced as the large banks, and we made it a point to give all the technologies to members as for as Internet banking,” he said.
Schmitz said FCCU didn’t have the risky investments and loans that big banks had when the financial market turned sour in 2008 and 2009.
“When a lot of people were pulling back we saw an opportunity for us to expand,” he said.
In the past eight years FCCU, has doubled in size and is looking to expand its market share in Fargo and Valley City.
A new Fargo hub is slated to open in a new 7,000 square foot building this summer on 45th Street near Interstate 94.
It also purchased land in Valley City and wants to have a new facility open there this time next year.
“We’ve been able to maintain a growth rate of 13 to 15 percent annually, and in North Dakota the farming economy helped us a lot,” Schmitz said. “The size of loans went up. I don’t necessarily see that slowing down in the near future with the population coming into the state.”
Sun reporter Ben Rodgers can be reached at 701-952-8455
or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org