Fargo -- Town and Country Credit Union, which began in Minot in 1939 and has had a presence in Fargo since 1993, recently opened its fifth location in the Fargo area.
The site at 5181 38th St. S. was selected to accommodate the growth in that part of south Fargo, said Shannon Webster, senior vice president of marketing for Town and Country.
The location will also serve as something of a hub for other local branches of Town and Country, including offices at 815 25th St. S., 1501 32nd Ave. S., and 801 Broadway, all in Fargo, and at 925 14th Ave. E., in West Fargo, said Adam Silbernagel, vice president of operations.
Town and Country has grown steadily since its arrival in Fargo in the early 1990s, according to company officials who say credit unions hold appeal for a number of reasons, including the fact they tend to offer higher rates on savings accounts and lower rates on loans than banks and other financial institutions.
But that’s only part of it, said Alex Demkiw, vice president for business development.
“I think it’s the membership service, more than anything else. It’s really about: ‘Did we do the right thing for our members?’ ’’ he said.
Demkiw said the close connection credit unions build with members benefits members and credit unions.
“Members appreciate that (added effort),” he said, adding that he knows of some who make a point of paying on credit union loans before paying their other obligations.
“The fact of the matter is, for the last few years, we haven’t really had any delinquency,” Demkiw said.
To become a member of the credit union requires maintaining a $50 membership account, or taking out a loan through the credit union.
Members must also live within 50 miles of Fargo, or 75 miles of Minot.
Webster said that unlike banks, which usually have shareholders who expect a piece of the profits, member-owned credit unions like Town and Country invest any profit back into the business for things like new buildings and better services and products.
She also said the 17 people who sit on the credit union’s board of directors are all volunteers.
Besides individuals, Town and Country members include commercial and agricultural enterprises.
Other things being equal, that connection made a difference when it came to deciding which companies would help build Town and Country’s latest branch office.
“A lot of this building was built by people who are part of the credit union,” Silbernagel said.
He said credit unions also tend to promote from within when jobs become open.
“I’ve been here 10 years,” he said. “I started as a teller and worked my way up.”