This is a series of stories highlighting credit unions making small business loans in Missouri and the need for S. 2231, the Credit Union Small Business Jobs Act.
Century Credit Union was founded in 1954 as Nalco Credit Union. The name represented the credit union’s affiliation with the National Lead Company, a relatively large business in the St. Louis area.
During more than 50 years of service, the credit union name changed to Century Credit Union and grew beyond serving National Lead Company employees. Century Credit Union now serves 7,500 members, including people from approximately 80 select employee groups and those living or working in three Missouri counties: St. Louis, Jefferson, and Franklin.
Assisting small businesses has always been a part of the way Century Credit Union works for its members.
“From the first loan we made for a member who wanted to do lawn care on the side, we have been invested in helping members succeed,” said President Bob Eike. “Our strategy for growth is keeping the interests of our members front and center, and that means evolving to support small businesses.”
Odorite, a specialty cleaning service in south St. Louis, and McMillan Construction, a home construction and remodeling company, are just two of the small businesses that have found that a credit union serves their financial business needs very well. Odorite has had a full-service account since the 1980s. Century Credit Union has helped McMillan Construction since it started in 1997.
“We typically help members launch their own businesses through our lending services, whether it is through home equity loans, signature loans, credit cards. Small businesses also appreciate our ability to process drafts affordably,” said Eike. “Really, when you come right down to it, businesses are looking for the same things Century offers to our members; low fees, low rates and friendly, professional service.”
Century Credit Union has ramped up its service to small businesses with the recent accounting degree of an employee on staff. Josh Wallace, a teller at the credit union for several years, earned his bachelor’s degree in finance and is now focused on ensuring regulatory compliance from every angle for small business members.
“We will continue to welcome small businesses because they help the credit union grow, and we provide them with a refuge from the predatory ways of big banks,” said Eike.
TAKE ACTION for these small business owners:
Credit unions in the St. Louis Chapter: Make contacts by phone, by email, and/or in person, highlighting the small business lending efforts and asking for support of S. 2231, the Credit Union Small Business Jobs Act.
• Grassroots Action Center (please be sure to register BEFORE writing your email)
• Credit union presidents and small business owners are encouraged to make contacts directly to McCaskill and Blunt key staff members