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United FCU Plans New HQ, Expects to Double Assets by 2020   (Misc News: November 3, 2011)

United FCU in St. Joseph says it expects to double its assets by the start of the next decade, so the credit union is looking to open a new headquarters and double employment over the same time period.

“By expanding our headquarters, we will be able to consolidate all of our corporate operations under one roof, streamline operations, and increase jobs, but most importantly, we will be able to better serve our branches and ultimately our Members,” United CEO Gary Easterling said in a statement on the credit union’s website.

Easterling said that credit union is committed to staying in the area where it was founded in 1949, but he also said that it is evaluating all “Michiana-area options.” Michiana is the word used to describe the Northern Indiana-Southwestern Michigan area.

United operates branches in five states as a result of mergers with several smaller credit unions. The credit union, which served employees of Whirlpool and was located in the company’s St. Joseph factory, has more than $1.3 billion in assets and 105,000 members.

Easterling told WNDU TV 16 in South Bend that the credit union has quietly added about 100 employees in the past year.

“By 2020, we expect to have 1,000 employees, many of them here in southwest Michigan area,” Easterling told the TV station. “Right now we have about 500 employees and so by 2020 we expect to double in the number of employees as well as we double in assets.”

Easterling said United has expanded lending while other financial institutions have pulled back.

“For example, last year when many financial institutions had pulled away from the lending market, we were still lending. We grew loans at 13 percent last year both on the retail side and on the commercial side,” Easterling said.

One of the projects UFCU financed was a new equestrian center in Berrien County.

“We are primarily a retail lender, but we’re getting more and more involved in small business lending as many of the financial institutions have pulled out of that market,” Easterling said.

United expects to select a new site for its corporate headquarters in early 2012. It plans to move into the new building sometime in 2014.

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