GENERAL CREDIT UNION HISTORY 1960-2014
GTC Ft. Wayne Federal Credit Union was founded on April 25, 1960 by employees of General Telephone Company. The credit union started in the traditional way… eight employees of GTE offices located on Berry Street pooled $40.00. The office consisted of a shoebox in a desk drawer. In 1966, the offices were moved to the corner of Fourth and Harrison Street, then to 2311 N. Clinton St. in 1969. In 1978, a new facility was opened at 1016 Memorial Way. The new headquarter offices are at 6601 Mutual Drive which opened in 1994.
In 1982, deregulation allowed the expansion of the charter to be extended to other small employee groups. Comcast Cablevision was the first affiliate group to join. Forty-four smaller employee groups were added in the next 15 years, including the Komet Hockey Club & Komet Quarters, Krouse, Kern & Co, Physicians Health Plan, Viking Business Forms, Wayne Metal Protection, Thornhill Oil, Missionary Church World Headquarters, Nommay Carpet, Snelling and Snelling and Cable Pro, and Walker Group.
In the early eighties, a branch location was opened at the Pyramids in Indianapolis to serve members of GTE and several other employee groups in that area. In 1984 the branch moved to Carmel, then, in 1987 to Westfield. In 1996, the office was closed due to the downsizing of the GTE locations in Westfield. In September 1984, the name of the credit union became General Federal Credit Union. In 1988, Milk Marketing Credit Union was merged into our credit union. In 1995, a satellite office opened in Dallas/Fort Worth, Texas, to serve GTE members in that area that had been relocated from Fort Wayne.
In the late 80’s, GFCU added automated teller machine access, first just locally, then nationwide through affiliation with CIRRUS/PLUS network. Mortgage loans and a new leasing company were additional services introduced during these years.
With M.A.R.S. audio response, no-fee Share System ATM machines which were expanded in 1995, toll-free phone numbers, Member’s Mortgage, and Key Financial Group, GFCU became a full service credit union offering a complete line of financial services.
In July 1996, GFCU became a partner in Credit Union Service Centers of Fort Wayne (CUCFW). Located at 5909 Bluffton Rd., it became the ninth service center to open in Indiana. GFCU members were then able to make transactions at that location as well as ten other locations throughout Indiana. A new website was launched in late 1996, redesigned in 1997, and continues to change as the needs arise. The web address is www.gencu.org.
In 1996, bankers filed a lawsuit against the National Credit Union Administration, which resulted in the repeal of the 1982 law allowing small employee group expansions for federal credit unions. Due to this repeal, and after several years of consideration by the board of directors, General Federal Credit Union became a state chartered, privately insured credit union on January 22, 1998. American Share Insurance (ASI) insured members’ accounts up to $250,000 per account. The word “federal” was dropped from the name, thus the current name “General Credit Union” (GCU). With this change, GCU could once again accept new employee groups as well as maximize many other options available to state chartered credit unions.
The year 1998 brought many changes which will long be remembered in the history of GCU. That was the year that GCU doubled in size, assets, and employees. Consolidation with Insurance Employee Federal Credit Union (IEFCU), an equal size credit union, began in early 1998. IEFCU had been serving members since April, 1942. Regulatory approval of the consolidation was received in November, 1998. The name General Credit Union was continued. Lincoln National Corporation (LNC) was the core employee group of IEFCU. Along with LNC, fifty other insurance and employee groups were added to the membership including Independent Insurance Agents of Indiana, Indianapolis Life Insurance Co., and many other small insurance companies and subsidiaries.
In May & June, 1999, a new computer system was installed updating operations and making GCU Y2K compliant. The MARS audio system changed its name to Telephone-Teller. Three new ATMs were installed at the Lincoln National Corporation locations at Harrison St. and Magnavox Way, and at GTE headquarters on West Jefferson Blvd. In September, GCU joined “Alliance One”, a group of select-surcharge ATMs in 38 states, Puerto Rico, and the District of Columbia where GCU members can access their accounts without incurring a foreign ATM fee. There are currently over 3100 ATMs and over 1000 Alliance One Financial Institutions participating.
In early 2000, all of the GCU lobby entrances were electronically secured. Members may be asked for identification before entering the lobby. This action was necessary due to continued concern for the safety of our members and staff. In May, a new Visa program was introduced. The new program offered many benefits including Gold and Platinum cards. In July 2000, GCU celebrated a 40th Birthday – Member Appreciation Day. It was held at the Mutual Drive Office with over 200 people in attendance. There was a picnic, events for the children and door prizes. Everyone had a great time. In October, a new ATM was installed at the Riviera Court location and the Memorial Way office was closed due to the close proximity of the Riviera Court office. The Credit Union Service Center located in Waynedale was moved to a new location in The Village at Time Corners Shopping Center.
In April 2001, three new ATMs were installed. The locations were the Verizon building in Westfield, IN, Indianapolis Life Insurance Company in Indianapolis, and Lincoln Financial Group, Renaissance Building in Fort Wayne. In July 2001, General Credit Union opened its third full-service office at the former Credit Union Service Center location, 6401 W. Jefferson Blvd. Additionally, all of the GCU locations became Credit Union Service Center Outlets and then that dreaded day happened…September 11, 2001… a day that will live in infamy. Immediately after this shocking event, GCU established a disaster relief fund. Member donations totaled $1069.36 and GCU matched $1000.00. A check in the amount of $2069.36 was sent to the Fort Wayne American Red Cross Disaster Relief Fund. GCU also introduced the Olympic Rewards Program in late 2001. Again, after 41 years of continued community service, GCU adopted a family for Christmas from the Allen County Christmas Bureau.
In April 2002, GCU Online, our home banking product was introduced. This was a free product to our members. In June 2002, three promotions were announced. Jerry Yerkes became CEO, David Thieme, President, and Lori Huglin, Vice-President of Operations. In October 2002, the GCU web site was updated and streamlined for quicker access to specific areas and products. GCU staff members raised funds and walked in the fourth annual Parkview Hospice Walk/Run. Over $2500.00 was donated.
January 2003 brought the change of MAC to STAR on our ATM network. In May, GCU partnered with Enterprise Used Car Sales to offer a new benefit to its members. In October, the GCU Visa Check (Debit) card was introduced. A new core values statement was accepted using the acronym “CARES”.
C-Change is inevitable & embraced
A-Attitudes of helpfulness, honesty & integrity
R-Respect members and staff
E-Excellence as established in the “Golden Rule”
S-Sincere hearts make a positive influence on the lives of our members
In April, GCU was granted a charter change that allowed anyone that LIVES or WORKS in Fort Wayne to join the credit union. In July, The George Jordan Memorial Scholarship of $1000 was awarded to Theresa Ann Dawson. In November, Kathy Knight was promoted to Vice-President of Business Development.
During 2004, General Credit Union had 32 full-time employees with the corporate office located at 6601 Mutual Drive and two branch locations at 5020 Riviera Court and 6401 West Jefferson Boulevard. In June, Jerry L Yerkes, CEO for 26 years retired and President, David L. Thieme became CEO. In July, 2004 GCU introduced the Overdraft Privilege program. In November, GCU employees walked in the first Fort Wayne Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation walk-a-thon. A total of $2214.00 was collected through various projects throughout the year.
In January, 2005, Lori Huglin was promoted to Chief Operations Officer. Member’s Mortgage was sold to Fort Financial FCU and their offices were moved out of the Riviera Ct. location. The Annual Meeting was held at the Marriott Marquis Ballroom. Board member officers were Nick Stanger, Chairman, Ken Flood, Vice Chairman, Teresa Cordes, Treasurer, and Kathy Polston, Secretary. General Credit Union raised over $9500 for the 3rd Annual Fort Wayne Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation Walk. Eleven employees participated in the walk. Key Financial Group was closed at the end of 2005. Bill Pay Express (online bill payment service) was introduced in October, 2005.
In the summer of 2005 negotiations began with a proposed merger with Centerline Federal Credit Union (previously North American Van Lines FCU). Centerline serves the employees of Sirva and their office is located in the Sirva building at 5001 U.S. Highway30 West. They also have a community charter serving anyone that lives or works in Aboite, Eel River, Lake, Perry, Washington, and Wayne townships. Final approval from the National Credit Union Administration and the Department of Financial Institutions was received on February 9, 2006 concerning the merger between General Credit Union and Centerline Federal Credit Union (CFCU). The merger added seven new employees, 2200 new members, eight million in assets and another branch office. The combined totals are: 35 General Credit Union employees, 10,400 members, and 79 million in assets. General Credit Union remains the sixth largest credit union in Fort Wayne and the 35th largest in Indiana. General Credit Union membership is now open to anyone that lives or works in Fort Wayne, Aboite, Eel River, Lake, Perry, Washington or Wayne townships.
In 2006 the West Jefferson branch moved from the middle of The Village at Time Corners strip mall to the west end where a drive-thru was accessible to our members. The address change was 6401 to 6447 W. Jefferson. The new office was decorated in a new color scheme which was continued in the other branches in following years. Francine’s Friends Mobile Mammography was this year’s People Helping People project. The Mobile bus was scheduled at each office for one day in July, August and September and information about breast cancer was presented in several newsletters that year. Fifteen year board member, Bob Maughmer was presented an appreciation plaque at the annual meeting as he retired from the board of directors.
In 2007 a new logo was designed. It consisted of a “little g” in an orange background. The tag line was “Today. Tomorrow. Together. All signage, letterhead, logo wear, etc. was changed to reflect the new logo. Heath Savings Accounts (HSA’s) were introduced in May, 2007 and in August multi-factor authentication was introduced to better protect our members online accounts. In July, GCU introduced a Small Business Services Division. Allison Keller was named Business Service Manager of the division. The People Helping People project for 2007 was focused on three of GCU’s own employees who suffered devastating diseases. All proceeds raised from a Nelson’s Port-a-Pit and private auction were divided among the three employees to assist with medical bills. Over the Christmas holidays, GCU employees provided 12 decorated food baskets to Children’s Hope Hospitality House on the Lutheran Hospital campus. The baskets were given to families who had children in the hospital over the holidays. Each basket was carefully packed with ingredients for a complete Christmas meal.
In April, 2008, Lori Huglin-Curry was appointed Interim-President of General Credit Union and promoted to CEO in January, 2009. In September, 2008, prepaid Visa Travel Money and Visa gift card were introduced as new products. People Helping People projects included SCAN (Stop Child Abuse & Neglect) and Cancer Services of Northeast Indiana. GCU was a SCAN duck outlet and assisted SCAN in raising over $130,000. During the Christmas holidays the members and employees adopted two families from Cancer Services. Gifts, a Christmas meal, and holiday wishes were provided to these two families. Thank you cards were received from both families expressing their overflowing joy for the gifts and food received.
In April, 2009, extended hours on Friday evenings and Saturdays began at the Riviera Court and West Jefferson branches. GCU found a place on Facebook and Twitter too. Again, GCU supported SCAN as a duck outlet. A prescription drug discount card was introduced and available to all members. Two families from cancer services were adopted during the holidays.
In 2010, GCU celebrated their 50 year anniversary (1960-2011). A 50th anniversary promotion with 12 monthly prizes of $50 and a grand prize of $5000 was introduced. Offices were decorated in “60’s” themes. The annual meeting was held at Don Hall’s Guesthouse. Charter members were recognized and received plaques. The Indiana Credit Union League presented GCU with two plaques in recognition of their 50 year anniversary. Results of the board of directors and supervisory committee election were announced. Matt Leitz was elected to the board of directors after previously serving on the Supervisory Committee. Kathy Polston and Julie Wood were re-elected to the board of directors. Theresa Haneline and Fred Parshley were re-elected to the Supervisory Committee. In July, $1000 scholarships were awarded to Michael Welling and Daniel Keller.
GCU upgraded their home banking product, GCU Online. This new product included Web Loan and a new online loan application. The People Helping People project for this year was Mustard Seed Furniture Bank. A garage sale on May 28 and a Nelson Port-a-Pit on June 25 was held and raised over $2000 for the furniture bank. With this project, GCU won the 2011 Indiana State Dora Maxwell Social Responsibility Community Service Award for credit unions with 50-100 Million in assets from the Indiana Credit Union League. Our entry was then sent to national competition in Washington, D.C. and we won first place at Credit Union National Association awards. This was a tremendous honor. The Dora Maxwell award was created to encourage and honor credit union involvement in community projects and activities. The award is named after Dora Maxwell, a dedicated community activist who remained committed to credit union development, to her community, and to serving the underserved throughout her life. GCU had won first place and second place twice at the state level. This was our first award at the national level.
In 2011 GCU employees designed and built a float for the Fort Wayne Three Rivers Festival Parade. They won the Mayor’s Trophy Non-Commercial Division. Three George Jordan Memorial Scholarships were granted. In December, the fifth office at 601 E Dupont Rd. was opened and the Riviera Court office was completely remodeled both inside and out. The new orange roof makes this office more visible. Both offices have an open concept banking model. Coffee stations were installed for the members and a new community room was developed at the Riviera Court location.
General Credit Union not only serves the needs of its membership by updating and improving services, but they continue to serve and support their community. They have assisted organizations such as Parkview Hospice, The Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation, Riley’s Children Hospital, SCAN, The American Cancer Society, The Allen County Christmas Bureau, Make-A-Wish Foundation, The Embassy Theater Foundation, Junior Achievement, The Fort Wayne Rescue Mission, Erin’s House, Anthony Wayne Services, WBCL Radio Station, The Fort Wayne Swim Team, Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation, Francine’s Friends Mobile Mammography, Children’s Hope Hospitality House, Cancer Services of Northeast Indiana, Mustard Seed Furniture Bank, Youth for Christ and many others. GCU families in need are also assisted. Each year GCU continues to reach out to the community, not only financially, but with their time, staff, resources and skills to make Fort Wayne and the surrounding area a better place to live, work and worship. GCU looks forward to the future with the philosophy that has sustained it for the last 50 years, “People Helping People”. General Credit Union is a full-service, not-for-profit, democratically controlled financial institution with the goal of assisting our members and their families to financial success.
Throughout 2014 GCU saw major strides in their electronic services “e-Services” with the addition of Mobile Banking, Remote Deposit Capture “RDC” and elerts. With these new services, banking on your own terms became more accessible. In late 2014, GCU submitted a request to the Department of Financial Institutions to have their charter expanded, allowing additional counties and relatives of current members to be permitted membership. The request was approved and the change was granted in January of 2015. With this change, any individual that lives or works in Adams, Allen, DeKalb, Huntington, Kosciusko, Noble, Steuben, Wells and Whitley County in Indiana is invited to join GCU. More so, a parent, spouse, child, step-child, brother, sister, neice, nephew, grandparent, grandchild, father-in-law, mother-in-law, daughter-in-law, son-in-law, brother-in-law, sister-in-law, aunt, uncle or cousin of a current GCU member is also invited to bank with us.