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By DARRELL SMITH - dsmith@newsexaminer.com

In its 80th year, a Fayette County financial institution is moving to a more visible location.

Whitewater Regional Federal Credit Union has purchased the property at 3030 Western Ave., the current home of B&L Transportation. The hope is to begin moving there in March or April.

Bill Long, B&L president, said his company will be moving across the parking lot to the north to a suite in a strip mall.

WWRFCU began as the RBC Employee Credit Union located in the Roots Blower Co. facility, according to Renee Zumkeller, CEO and loan officer. She has been with the credit union since 1997. 

“In 1998, when Roots began downsizing we decided it was time to think about changing our charter and moving off the property,” she explained. “We moved up here in November of 1999 and then we changed our name and community charter in early 2000.”

The office is currently in from the Cherry Hill Park, 2508 Western Ave., Suite B.

Activity increased there and the business expanded to include the adjacent suite in 2016. For a long time four employees took care of everything but it became too much. A fifth employee has been added, Zumkeller said. 

“We are growing,” she said. “People tell me that once we are on the highway, we will probably see even more growth. We get a lot of business through word of mouth.”

The new office will include a drive-up window, which is not available at Cherry Hill Park, she said. If someone needs to make a transaction but cannot come inside, they call from the parking lot and a teller will come out for the transaction.

“That has worked well so far but the consensus of the people we talk to is they are excited we will have a drive-up window,” she said. 

The new location is designed as a bank building. It served as home to Union County National Bank, which became First Merchants Bank before B&L bought it.

As a community charter credit union, anyone living, working, worshiping or going to school in Fayette, Franklin, Rush or Union counties may join.

The credit union is overseen by a seven-person volunteer board of directors. A credit committee of three makes loan approvals. A supervisory committee is appointed by the board to come in randomly and check the workings of the employees.

WWRFCU has 1,281 members and about $8.1 million in assets so it is considered a small institution, she said.

The credit union can make vehicle, personal, personal property and shared secure loans. It has share draft (checking), share accounts (savings) and share certificates (certificates of deposit). Mortgages are not available.

While many banks and credit unions have merged, Zumkeller said WWRFCU has avoided the move by maintaining a solid capital position.

“Even if we were going to merge, you look around and say “Who is going to treat them as well as I treat them?’” she said. “We’ve never found ourselves in a position where that was even in the conversation.”

When the move is made, two memorabilia from the RBC days will make the move as well.

One is a hand-painted “RBC Employees Federal Credit Union” sign that may be original to the credit union. Also, when the credit union was located at Roots, some of the employees built a desk that moved with it to the Cherry Hill Park location.

“The sign and desk go with us,” she said.