Paul Johnson is chief executive officer of US Community Credit Union. He is overseeing the credit union’s move from Eighth Avenue South in SoBro to its expanding branch on Hermitage Avenue in Rutledge Hill. Johnson recently met with Nashville Post Managing Editor William Williams to discuss the industry.
You recently sold your Eighth Avenue property, which you’ve owned since 1955, to the First Evangelical Lutheran Church. What are your moving plans?
US Community Credit Union is proud to announce plans to better serve our membership in the downtown area with an expansion to our branch at 89 Hermitage Ave. in downtown Nashville. Construction on the 3,200-square-foot addition and two-lane four-service-point drive-thru is now underway. The expansion of this branch will more than double its current size and provide a more convenient and user-friendly location to serve USCCU members in the downtown area. US Community Credit Union is taking this opportunity to grow by improving our more convenient downtown location in the Rolling Mill Hill area while planning to serve the Eighth Avenue area with a new branch location inside cafeteria space of the Estes Kefauver Federal Building.
How are your other branches doing?
Besides our Eighth Avenue branch and 89 Hermitage Ave. branch, we have branches at Hickory Hollow, Mt. Juliet, Lebanon, and a student-run branch in McGavock High School. We recently relocated the Hickory Hollow branch from a leased space in the Hickory Hollow shopping center to the old Regions Bank location at 925 Bell Road in October 2011. The relocation provided the branch with more visibility, which has generated tremendous growth, including 320 new members or annualized growth of 25 percent, $2 million growth in deposits, and $3.3 million asset growth.
Our Mt. Juliet branch, since opening in January of 2007, has grown to $12.6 million in assets, $10 million in loans [and] $11.2 million in deposits, with a total of 2,129 members.
Our Lebanon branch opened in July of 2011 [and] is a state-of-the-art facility utilizing an open floor plan with dialogue towers and cash recyclers to provide more personal member service. Construction on a renovation to our vacant Donelson branch will start in September of this year.
Currently, the Donelson branch provides our members with a convenient ATM location but will soon become the home of a cutting-edge branch utilizing both dialog towers and a traditional teller line.
Your Hermitage Avenue site is home to the Metro Employees Credit Union. How has that arrangement fared?
In 2004, US Community Credit Union welcomed the city employees of Nashville with merger of the Metro Employees Credit Union. The Metro branch is now USCCU’s second-largest branch with over $18 million in assets and 3,726 members. The branch continues to grow with the development of the Rolling Mill Hill area. The branch’s location is the reason we chose to expand and provide our members in the downtown area with state-of-the-art-facility. USCCU will lease space in part of the cafeteria of the Kefauver building to provide service to its members who work there.
How is that effort progressing?
We are currently working with the U.S. General Services Administration to approve a lease and plans for the branch. Negotiations are progressing smoothly, and we hope to have a branch in the building by the end of this year.
What are your financials?
US Community Credit Union was formed in 1949 as the Nashville VA Credit Union and quickly became the US Courthouse Credit Union in 1952, serving federal employees living or headquartered in Davidson County. In 2005, US Courthouse changed its name to US Community Credit Union to reflect the new community charter opening its membership to anyone who lives, works, worships or attends school in Davidson, Wilson and Rutherford counties. With the expanded field of membership, the credit union experienced rapid growth. In 2011, the credit union added Sumner and Williamson counties to its field of membership. US Community Credit Union has more than 21,000 members with $145 million in assets after its recent 12-month growth of more than $10 million. The credit union exceeds 14 percent net worth, making it one of the strongest, best-capitalized credit unions nationally.
You opened an in-school branch at McGavock High School in August 2011. What was your reasoning?
The student-run branch at McGavock High School represents an important partnership between US Community Credit Union and Metro Public Schools. One of the major goals of our volunteer board of directors is to give back to the communities we serve by educating young adults on financial literacy. In 2011, the USCCU volunteer board of directors decided to become a partner by sponsoring the McGavock High School Academy of Business and Finance.
Since April of 2011, our credit union has contributed over 1,900 hours of in-kind service to McGavock High School. Our monetary contributions since April of 2011 total $91,184. However, the most important contribution is the real-life work and banking experience we are able to provide the students at McGavock. Plus, we’re expanding our financial literacy program to the four McGavock High feeder middle schools.