Financial Center Credit Union is venturing where few financial institutions are willing to go — South Stockton.
Although South Stockton is home to roughly 100,000 residents, only one financial institution exists there, as well as a few check cashing stores that offer payday loans.
But that will change in a few months as Financial Center Credit Union (FCCU) prepares to open its first branch south of Charter Way. The credit union broke ground last month on the new branch, which will be located at 2405 S. Airport Way, near 10th Street. The 3,600-square-foot building is scheduled to open in May 2015.
“The residents of South Stockton shouldn’t have to drive across town to access their hard-earned money,” said FCCU President and CEO Michael Duffy. “We look forward to the completion of this newest branch that we know will benefit our members, as well as bring value to the south Stockton neighborhood and community.”
It will be the sixth branch of San Joaquin County’s largest credit union and the first on the south side of town. In business for more than 60 years, FCCU’s main office is in Stockton at 18 S. Center St. In addition to two other Stockton branches, it also has locations in Manteca and Lodi.
Once built, the South Stockton branch will serve a significant number of members who live in the area and potentially attract more, Duffy said. Currently, about 3,500 members live within three miles of the South Stockton site, he noted.
“We think there’s great potential for new membership because there are folks who need our services down there,” Duffy said. “There’s definitely a need. There’s no doubt a demand.”
Plans for the South Stockton branch has been in development for the past five years. But the credit union thought it was best to wait on constructing the branch until the economic recovery from the recession was well under way.
Once members who lived in the area learned of the credit union’s plans for a south side location, they immediately expressed their joy and gratitude, Duffy said. One woman called Duffy while he was working in his office and was in near tears as she thanked him.
“It all started with a simple goal, to serve people in their neighborhood – hence making it all of our neighborhood,” Duffy said. “Now, five years later, the vision is becoming a reality and our loyal membership base in South Stockton couldn’t be happier.”
Founded in 1954 by 11 San Joaquin County employees, FCCU has helped lay a financial foundation for its members over the past six decades by providing home and car loans, checking and savings accounts, and dividends or interest from savings deposits.
The credit union has $380 million in assets and serves 32,000 members through its branches in Stockton, Lodi, and Manteca. Its membership is made up of city and county employees, members of the local medical and bar associations, and their family members, and members of the Catholic Diocese of Stockton. The members are also shareholders of the nonprofit, financial cooperative, which is standard among credit unions.
As FCCU expands to the south side of Stockton, it hopes other businesses will follow suit to help bring economic vitality to the area.
“The south side has been neglected,” Duffy said. “It’s an underserved area. It needs a facelift. It needs good businesses there that will hopefully attract other businesses to the area.”