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Banking & Finance

Credit Union Preps For Life On Its Own

By Jenny Callison, posted Mar 1, 2024
At its meeting Feb. 20, the Wilmington City Council approved a five-year lease of just over 3,000 square feet in the Skyline Center to the Local Government Federal Credit Union. 

Moving into its own offices is a significant step for the credit union, which has enjoyed continued support from the State Employees’ Credit Union (SECU) since the two entities legally split in 1983. That support has included sharing branch space and ATMs throughout the state.

With more than 400,000 members and assets topping $4 billion, Raleigh-based Local Government Federal Credit Union (LGFCU) is articulating a more individual vision and becoming physically independent of its sister institution. 

A year ago, CEO Dwayne Naylor announced that the credit union’s board approved breaking off from its sister institution. 

“Frankly, when LGFCU was created 39 years ago, it was with the understanding that providing services through SECU would not last forever,” Naylor said in that announcement. 
“Now is the right time for this change, and SECU is committed to assisting LGFCU in our efforts to make this transition,” Naylor stated. “Our Board of Directors has prepared for this evolution toward independence and is dedicated to serving the local government community.”

The credit union’s original target for independence was March of this year, but recently, Naylor told members that LGFCU was postponing the launch of its new platform until 2025. 

“In recent months, we’ve heard from many of you about our plans to become an independent credit union and our goal to build a better experience that meets your needs,” he said in a letter to members. “We have carefully considered your thoughtful input and your ideas about in-person service, cash management and new products and services. We’ve decided that we need more time to innovate to ensure that you receive the exceptional service you deserve.”

One of the questions LGFCU has wrestled with is whether it would become an online-only provider of financial services or whether it would also establish a network of branches. Feedback from members helped make the decision. Although less than 17% of members’ transactions occur in a branch and digital transactions increased by almost 20% over the past five years, strong sentiment remains supporting some bricks and mortar, like the new office suite in Wilmington.

“We’ve taken your input to heart, and we will offer a variety of in-person services, which include a physical presence in areas of the state that give you the peace of mind and ease of banking you expect,” Naylor stated in the recent announcement. “We’re also creating a network of people to work in the field directly with you on your needs.”

Remaining online-only is Civic Federal Credit Union, which LGFCU spawned when SECU stopped serving institutional accounts like municipal EMS and fire departments. Civic has evolved in the years since 2010, offering both deposit accounts and loans to those organizations. Most recently, Civic expanded its mission to include marginalized and underserved communities with the launch, with LGFCU, of what is now the Civic Local Foundation.
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