HECU gets charter, aims for future growth

Published 12:00 am Thursday, February 20, 2003

Thanks to a charter from the Minnesota Commerce Department, the Hormel Employees Credit Union is able to offer memberships to individuals in Freeborn, Mower, Olmsted and Winona Counties.

Previously, only Hormel employees and the select employee groups were able to be members.

The new membership area has been in place since Jan. 10 and President Lon Krueger has noticed some more people have joined.

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HECU decided to apply for the charter to help the credit union grow in the future. This way, HECU may be able to attract younger members and "prevent any one local problem from impeding the credit union's growth," Krueger said.

Those who have wanted to be part of a credit union, but did not have one available will be able to join HECU.

To apply for the charter, HECU studied to see if there was enough interest in this area. A vote was conducted at its annual meeting in March 2002 and more than 91 percent supported expanding the membership. HECU also submitted a business plan to the state detailing membership expansion.

City and county employees each have a credit union available to them. Catholics can use the Mower County Catholic Persons Credit Union. Teachers and other state workers, as well as federal workers also have credit unions available to them, although those are out of town and sometimes out of state.

"There are a lot of people that don't have credit union services available, particularity locally," Krueger said.

People choose credit unions because of its focus on customer service as well as its philosophy, he said.

"We pride ourselves on treating our members like we would want to be treated," Krueger said.

Each customers is a part owner of the credit union. Credit unions are not-for-profit agencies and any profit it makes goes back to services and sometimes back to the members in the form of higher interest rates, Krueger said.

HECU has $84 million in net assets and 12,300 members in 48 states. Almost 190 members live in Minnesota.

Those interested in becoming a member can call the Hormel Employees Credit Union at 433-1829 or (800) 533-0448, visit its Web site at www.hecu.org or visit its office at 400 Fourth Ave. NE.

Cari Quam can be reached at 434-2235 or by e-mail at :mailto:cari.quam@austindailyherald.com