Comtrust credit union to build new headquarters on Riverfront Parkway

Contributed photo / An architect's rendering shows the proposed new headquarters for Comtrust Federal Credit Union to be built on Riverfront Parkway.
Contributed photo / An architect's rendering shows the proposed new headquarters for Comtrust Federal Credit Union to be built on Riverfront Parkway.

As the city and private developers prepare to redevelop Chattanooga's Westside with up to $2.3 billion of new housing and commercial projects, one of Chattanooga's biggest credit unions plans to soon break ground on a new corporate headquarters building in the midst of the redeveloping area.

Comtrust Federal Credit Union is planning to build a new three-story office next to its existing headquarters at 1020 Riverfront Parkway. The new headquarters is scheduled to be completed by late 2024 or early 2025 and will anchor the six offices operated across three states by the Chattanooga-based credit union.

"We're excited about this new chapter in our history," Johnny Phillips, CEO of the 88-year-old credit union, said in an announcement of the new building. "In an era where online transactions and digital interfaces are prevalent, we still understand the importance of personal relationships and in-person visits. It's these interactions that have allowed us to grow and continue welcoming new members into the Comtrust family."

Comtrust is the second largest credit union in Chattanooga with more 20,000 members and over $400 million in assets, behind only the Tennessee Valley Federal Credit Union in size. The credit union was started in 1935 by eight Combustion Engineering employees who put $5 each into a cigar box and loaned that $40 back to their fellow employees. As the credit union grew and eventually took on employees from other companies, the name was changed to Comtrust in 2005.

(READ MORE: What are the biggest credit unions in Chattanooga?)

The new corporate headquarters will house a full-service physical branch and also serve as the central hub for administrative staff and the accounting, information technology, human resources, marketing and operations offices for Comtrust and its 59 employees. The new facility also will house Comtrust's online E-Branch, which provides remote banking services to credit union members.

Comtrust operates three branches in Chattanooga, two in North Georgia and one branch in Windsor, Connecticut.

During construction of the new headquarters, Comtrust members will be able to continue to transact business at the 1020 Riverfront Parkway location. When the new facility is completed, Comtrust said it plans to sell the 1020 Riverfront building and land.

The new building is being designed by Franklin Architects and built by J & J Contractors. The new Comtrust branch "will be a landmark addition to the Riverfront Parkway skyline, symbolizing the credit union's commitment to its members and the community it serves," Phillips said.

(READ MORE: Special tax zone will help develop The Bend and Westside)

Comtrust's Riverfront Parkway office is between College Hill Courts, Chattanooga's oldest and biggest public housing project, and the former Alstom manufacturing site on The Bend.

The Chattanooga Housing Authority has prepared a Westside Evolves plan to invest up to $1 billion to redevelop its property in and around College Hill Courts with more and better housing units. Just to the west on The Bend, Urban Story Ventures is planning more than $1 billion of offices, apartments, condominiums and other development on 121 acres.

The Comtrust credit union headquarters is also near the Crown Automotive dealership at Riverfront Parkway and M.L. King Boulevard. Crown plans to soon relocate to a bigger dealership site at Interstate 75 and Bonny Oaks Drive. Chattanooga Mayor Tim Kelly, whose family previously operated Kelly Subaru before selling the dealership to Crown in 2020, hasn't disclosed his future plans for the 2.9-acre downtown site.

Contact Dave Flessner at dflessner@timesfreepress.com or 423-757-6340.

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