Before Heritage Federal Credit Union was officially chartered in 1965, a few Alcoa Warrick Operations employees collected dollar bills from their coworkers on the plant floor and stored the assets in the trunk of a car. Little did they know their work would be remembered on a wall in a brand-new headquarters lobby more than 50 years later.
A transparent wave carries visitors through those 51 years of vision, commitment, and innovation as they step into the branch of HFCU at 8266 Bell Oaks Drive, which replaced the old Bell Oaks branch in January 2015.
Photographs, historic logos, and blocks of red and blue stand out from the sepia wallpaper composed of archived documents and newspaper articles. One of the first photos is of that first car, with its trunk open.
“It really did take the blood, sweat, and tears of just a few men who had a vision of creating a financial solution for the workers,” says President and CEO Ruth Jenkins. “To be here 50 years later is a pretty impressive feat.”
In the earliest days, only Alcoa employees, members of the United Steelworkers Local 104, belonged to the Warrick Employees Federal Credit Union, a far cry from its membership charter today. The renamed HFCU, with seven offices between Warrick and Vanderburgh Counties, serves about 51,000 members from four counties as a not-for-profit, member-owned financial cooperative, which offers savings, investment opportunities, loans, and more.
“Some of our members still come in and point out, ‘Oh gosh, that was me in the truck,’ or, ‘I know that person. They’re in my family,’” says Chief Marketing and Member Service Officer Steven Bugg. “So it’s still a living, breathing history wall."
In the middle of it all is a large screen, which will, upon completion, display a video detailing the legacy of the credit union.
“We also implemented technology to let people know that we are up-to-date,” says Bugg, “even though we’re 51 years young.”
The wall can be updated, as well, to incorporate new branches and faces — new history.
“We want to make sure,” says Bugg, “just as our forefathers did, that the credit union is around for many generations in the future.”
When members and employees pass through the lobby, the wall stands before them as a reminder, a review, and a testament.
“The pride was there then,” says Jenkins, pointing to the photo of the car where it all began, “and decades later, the pride is still here today.”
For more information about Heritage Federal Credit Union, call 812-253-6928 or visit hfcu.info.