Fort Oglethorpe's oldest financial institution will soon have one of that city's newest buildings - and a new name.
The official groundbreaking for the Hutcheson Federal Credit Union's new location and the "soft" unveiling of its new name and logo occurred last Thursday.
After nearly six decades of service, the credit union is changing its name to Mountain Community Federal Credit Union and will soon have a new and larger home in Fort Oglethorpe.
Work is under way on a 3-acre parcel adjacent the post office on Forrest Road that will better reflect the credit union's being open to membership for anyone, not just employees of the hospital located about four blocks distant.
Credit union President and CEO Shannon Walters said the building is expected to cost about $500,000 and, "We are hoping to be in our new office by the end of the year."
Chartered in 1955 to serve employees of what was then Tri-County Hospital, later known as Hutcheson Medical Center and now as Erlanger at Hutcheson, the credit union currently has 1,079 members and about $5.4 million in assets.
"The staff and board of directors at our credit union are extremely excited about our new facility," Walters said prior to a soggy groundbreaking. "This has been part of our vision and business plan for many years."
Walters said the National Credit Union Administration approved HFCU's request to become a community credit union in 2007 and opened its membership to a much larger customer base.
"That meant we could open our membership to anyone who lives, works, worships or attends school in Catoosa County," she said.
But because its office was inside the hospital and its name included that of the hospital, many mistakenly believed only hospital employees and their families could join the credit union.
To change that perception, and in case the hospital's name changes in the future, the credit union's new name is being phased in as its building is being built.
An "official date" for the formal name change will coincide with the new office's grand opening, according to credit union board chairman Jerry Hale.
Hale said the credit union is not only the oldest financial institution in Fort Oglethorpe, predating Capital Bank which opened as Fort Oglethorpe State Bank in 1963, it offers more services than is typical of a small- to mid-sized credit union.
"About the only thing we don't have are safety deposit boxes," he said.
The current credit union office will close when operations are successfully transferred to the new facility, Walters said.
"We are thrilled to be able to move our operations to better serve our current membership," she said. "Our credit union is committed to maintaining a high level of one-on-one customer service and providing cost-effective products and services to our members. This new building will provide us the opportunity to better serve all the residents of Catoosa County."