Northern Colorado Credit Union opens branch in Berthoud

By Shelley Widhalm

The Surveyor

The Northern Colorado Credit Union picked Berthoud for its second branch and will bring the town its first credit union when it opens June 4.

The credit union, carrying the tagline “Community-Minded. Member-Focused,” has been in Greeley for 83 years, where it operates one branch. The branch at 909 Mountain Ave. will be its first location in Larimer County.

Photo by Shelley Widhalm – Russ Dalke, president and chief executive officer of the Northern Colorado Credit Union, left, and Meagan Barrett, vice-president of operations, stand May 17 in front of the ATM for the credit union’s first branch in Larimer County at 909 Mountain Ave. in Berthoud.

“Because of the size of the community — a small community and tight knit — we felt it was the perfect opportunity to grow with the community,” said Russ Dalke, president and chief executive officer of the Northern Colorado Credit Union and a Greeley resident. “Berthoud has planned growth initiatives, doing things that are catching the eye of the Front Range corridor. … We just feel we can serve a kind of consumer community niche in Berthoud.”

The Berthoud branch will have its soft opening June 4, followed by a ribbon cutting with the Berthoud Area Chamber of Commerce and a grand-opening ceremony at 4:30 p.m. on June 19. Some of the staff also will participate in Berthoud Day on June 2, and the credit union will serve as the stage sponsor.

The Northern Colorado Credit Union selected the Hays Market shopping plaza for its location, leasing from American Family Insurance, which opened up some of its space for another business.

“It’s in a good location in town, and Hays Market gets a lot of traffic,” Dalke said. “It’s easily assessable.”

Taking over the lease Feb. 1, the credit union designed and built the space into a small branch with two member-service or teller stations, a private office, a coin machine, and an exterior ATM.

“I’m excited about growing this credit union,” said Meagan Barrett, vice-president of operations and a Greeley resident. “This gives us an opportunity to meet the needs of the community and also have a balance of being outside Weld County. This is new for us, and we have great support from existing members. Anyone we mention this to in town says, ‘Oh great, we’re going to have credit union.’ We think there’s a need.”

The Berthoud branch will offer consumer accounts only, providing personal checking and loan and transaction services. The branch does not issue business accounts but does provide access to business and commercial lending through its credit union service organizations that include Centennial Lending, LLC, and CO-OP Financial Services.

“Larger financial institutions like banks are good at that,” Dalke said. “We’re good at consumer services, person to person, trying to put a personal feeling with our members.”

The credit union does not have customers, but has members who share in the profits of the organization and have one share that carries one vote. The credit union operates under a community charter, where those who live or work in Weld or Larimer counties can open an account.

The credit union provides a list of consumer services that include checking and savings accounts, certificates of deposit, retirement accounts, and auto and boat loans.

“What differentiates financial institutions today is the service level provided to consumers. It’s about convenience, and it’s about service,” Dalke said. “One primary thing is we answer the phone. You don’t get put in a phone tree.”

The staff at the credit union wants to get to know its members. There will be three staff there — the Greeley branch has 13.

“We enjoy talking with them and having them come in,” he said.

The credit union also provides online services 24-7 that include online banking, remote deposit capture, and online applications.

“We want to deliver in that fashion, yet we want to be a face and voice they know when they contact us,” Dalke said. He likes that the credit union will be the first in Berthoud.

“We’re very excited about it. We believe communities should have a choice of credit unions. I think we provide a wonderful service to consumers. I’m excited about bringing a credit union to this community.”

The Northern Colorado Credit Union is among more than 5,700 credit unions nationwide, serving more than 105 million members. Credit unions formed in the 1930s with the motto of people helping people.

“Studies and surveys have shown credit unions maintain a lower fee structure for the consumer,” Dalke said. “Typically, we have higher savings rates and lower loan rates.”

The branches of a credit union act as shared branches in a cooperative, so members can go into any branch location and perform transactions, such as transfers, loan payments and deposits and withdrawals.

Beginning in the fall the Berthoud branch will provide consumer education through free financial literacy classes that cover what a credit union is, the basics of banking, product and service comparisons, and first-time homebuyer information.

“We don’t just hand you a checkbook and debit card and send you on your way. We provide the education to make the right decisions,” Barrett said.

The Berthoud branch will be open 8:30 a.m.-5 p.m. Monday, Tuesday and Thursday, 9:30 a.m.-5 p.m. Wednesday, 8:30 a.m.-6 p.m. Friday, and 9 a.m.-noon Saturday.

 

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