United Federal Credit Union grows in Niles

United Federal Credit Union has taken the first step toward expanding its footprint in Berrien County. The Credit Union broke ground May 8 on the first of a multi-phase building project that will support its growth over the next five years.

The first phase includes construction of a new, 20,000-square-foot Operations Center at 2100 S. 11th Street in Niles.

UFCU settled on the Niles location after reviewing proposals for an expanded corporate headquarters from more than 40 municipalities, developers, and property owners. It ultimately decided to have a number of locations where employees work rather than one central headquarters. 

The Operation Center will employ 97 people moved from other UFCU locations and another 40 employees are expected to be hired there. They will perform duties such as accounting and other behind-the-scenes business activities that don't result in face-to-face transactions with credit union members.

The Niles Operations Center is expected to be open in early 2015.

As the multi-phase building plan progresses, employee campuses will be built at the site for the new Operations Center and on State Street in St. Joseph, as well. The Redmond Company of Waukesha, Wis., is managing the construction projects.

Having several campuses for employees allows the credit union to remain flexible and adapt to changing market conditions, says Gary Easterling, president and CEO. The new operations Ccenter in Niles and subsequent building projects planned throughout Berrien County will help United Federal Credit Union expand it capabilities, he says.

"Having several sizable work locations throughout the county will also help us attract talented employees that live throughout the Michiana area,” Easterling says.

As part of the ongoing expansion, UFCU’s existing corporate headquarters and branch facility at 2807 South State Street in St. Joseph will be rebuilt. More than $3 million in renovations are planned for 2014.

The existing branch will be replaced by a new building. It will go on the same property and the corporate headquarters will be expanded and improved to house UFCU’s growing workforce.

The credit union also opened in the fall of 2013 a new, state-of-the-art employee training center in St. Joseph. It took an unused, former branch location and invested $750,000 to create the newly renovated educational facility, which held its first training class on Sept. 9.

United Federal Credit Union has served members since 1949 and has more than 120,000 members worldwide. It manages assets in excess of $1.57 billion. In addition to its nine branches in southwest Michigan, UFCU serves members through locations in Arkansas, Indiana, Michigan, Nevada, North Carolina, and Ohio.

Source: Sandie Lieberg, United Federal Credit Union

Those participating in the groundbreaking pictured above are, from left:
Scott Winger, UFCU Director of Property Management
Sara Lepich, The Redmond Company
Jim Rothfuchs, UFCU Board Member
Jim Stover, Niles Township Supervisor
Anson Lovellette, UFUC Board Member
Tim Gray, UFCU Chief Financial Officer
Rob Harbin, UFCU VP of Information Technology
Gary Easterling, UFCU President/CEO
Tyanna Weller, Four Flags Chamber of Commerce President/CEO
Stacy Grewe, UFCU VP of National Sales and Service
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