SECU expands to Gatesville

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, January 9, 2008

GATESVILLE – It’s all about convenience.

With the Jan. 11 opening of a North Carolina State Employees Credit Union (SECU) branch office in Gatesville, this small town in the heart of an equally small county will enjoy the identical financial services found in neighboring municipalities such as Ahoskie and Elizabeth City.

And giving the grand opening a “down home” touch is that of the office’s six employees, four are Gates County residents.

“It’s a win-win situation all the way around,” said SECU Gatesville Branch Manager/Vice-President Jonathan Jones. “First we provide a convenient service to Gates County citizens by opening a branch office in Gatesville and then we staff that office with Gates County citizens. We’re really excited to be here and excited about serving the financial needs of those in this area.”

The Gatesville SECU branch office is located at 506 Main Street, adjacent to Todd’s Pharmacy and Baron’s Grill. The office will be open weekdays from 8:30 a.m. until 5:30 p.m. and will offer drive-thru service, another part of its “convenience” plan.

“The Credit Union’s motto is ‘people helping people’ and what’s better to help them by providing simple convenience,” Jones noted. “A branch office in Gatesville will better serve our customers who would normally have to drive to Ahoskie or Elizabeth City.”

Jones’ immediate boss, SECU Senior Executive Vice-President James Eure, wholeheartedly agreed.

“Those who do not have to drive 25-to-30 miles just to cash a check wouldn’t understand,” said Eure who manages the SECU branch in Ahoskie. “Our Gates County/Gatesville customers have been waiting for this a long time and we’re so very happy to finally have the opportunity to accommodate their needs with face-to-face financial services in their own backyard. We’re finally coming to them instead of the other way around.”

According to Jones, Gatesville SECU customers can expect the same services found in a larger branch such as the Ahoskie office. The branch will offer mortgages, home equity loans, vehicle loans, personal loans and safety deposit boxes.

Jones said the current ATM location in Gatesville (at the intersection of NC 137 and NC 37 near the courthouse) will remain in place as will the ATM in Sunbury. There will be no ATM located at the branch office.

Other than Jones, the Gatesville branch will be staffed by tellers Carol Ward, Heather Hedgepeth and Willieta Edwards along with Sharise Eckart and Yolanda Walton, both who will serve as financial service officers. Of that group, all but Edwards live in Gates County.

Jones, a native of Kinston, has been employed five years with SECU. Before accepting the Gatesville job, he worked in the SECU Call Center in Knightdale. He, his wife and one-year-old daughter reside near Murfreesboro.

“We’ve been well-received here and we are looking forward to meeting the fine people of Gates County and providing financial services,” Jones concluded. “And please remember, we just don’t serve state employees.”

Additional information about the new SECU branch in Gatesville can be obtained by calling 357-6566.

With the opening of the Gatesville branch, SECU now has offices in 96 of the state’s 100 counties. Plans are in the works to open branch offices in the remaining four counties by the end of this year.

State Employees’ Credit Union was founded on June 4, 1937 with 17 members and $437 in assets. It was operated on a part-time basis out of the basement of the Agriculture Building in Raleigh. Over the years, SECU has experienced continued growth in membership and assets, now boasting of nearly 1.5 million members with more than $12 billion in assets through its 217 branches.

In 2004, SECU chartered the SECU Foundation to promote local community development primarily through high impact projects in the areas of education, health and human services. The foundation currently provides scholarships for every public high school in the state as well as for community college students.

The Credit Union has introduced new products such as Salary Advance loans to combat predatory payday lending, life stages accounts such as Fat Cat and Zard to promote financial literacy and Summer Cash and Holiday Cash accounts to assist members in budgeting their finances. The Credit Union has also seen continuous growth in Member Services through Member Access, Car Buying Services, BillPay and the Call Center.