The Stock Market crash on October 29, 1929, marked the official beginning of the Great Depression. President Roosevelt signed the Federal Credit Union Act in 1934, forming a national system to charter and supervise federal credit unions. Because commercial banks and savings institutions were not generally interested in providing consumer credit, credit unions began growing.
In 1936, a group of GE employees in Fort Wayne, Indiana, petitioned for a federal credit union charter. On May 15, it was announced that the formation of the General Electric Employees Federal Credit Union was assured and temporary officers were elected. Decisions were made to limit membership to regular employees at the Winter Street and Broadway plants and those who had at least one year of service. The charter was granted on May 29, 1936.
It was reported that in the early days of the Credit Union, the volunteer committee carried their cash assets around and did business out of a shoe box. Permanent officers, directors and members of the credit and supervisory committees were elected. First payroll deductions began July 31, and first loan applications could be made after August 7. Membership fees were $0.25. Fees collected were set aside as a reserve against possible bad loans. Members had to save at least $0.25/week.
First Office Established
The first office was actually located inside the plant. Eventually, the young Credit Union needed more room and leased office space near the plant. In 1946, the Credit Union was located at 2001 Broadway—above the Stine Drug Store, on the corner of Broadway and Taylor. Later, it relocated to a moveable office at 1021 Swinney Avenue across from the plant. In 1969, a permanent structure was built on that site. The first branch was opened in the fall of 1970 in Decatur, IN, across from the General Electric plant.
Merger with Hospital Credit Union
In 1983, the Med-Pac Credit Union merged with the GE Credit Union. That credit union served the 3 major hospitals [Parkview, St. Joseph, and Lutheran] in Fort Wayne. Two small credit unions in Huntington (Memcor in 1983 and Majestic in 1984) were acquired. Initially, members were served from a portable branch until a new permanent branch could be constructed on Huntington’s north side. That office opened in 1989. In 1985, members of Eastside FCU (formerly, Falstaff Credit Union) became a part of the growing family. Since that time, over 400 companies have become part of our field of membership. This includes all the major area hospitals and the local General Motors plant.
Our name was changed in early 1987 to MidWest America Federal Credit Union to better reflect this expanded field of membership and market area. In October of that year, our two-story corporate headquarters opened on North Clinton at Medical Park Drive. This provided adequate space to house the support functions as well as a convenient location for a branch on the north side of Fort Wayne.
Out of State Branches
In 1999, the first out of state facility opened in Scottsville, KY. Employees at the A.O. Smith plant (formerly General Electric) petitioned for local service. Initially, leased space was obtained for a branch. Eventually, a larger facility was needed and land was purchased and a full service branch was built in 2006.
In 2000, Community First Credit Union (a former GE credit union) merged with MidWest America. They were headquartered in Danville, IL. They also operated branches in Mattoon, IL, and East Flat Rock, NC. In 2004, the CIPS Employees FCU (Central Illinois Public Service in Mattoon, IL) was acquired. The North Carolina office was subsequently closed due to difficulty in servicing and staffing the facility. Additional branches in the growing northeast and northwest areas of Fort Wayne necessitated branches at Lima & Dupont and Stellhorn & Wheelock Roads.
In 2006, Reliable FCU (formerly, Phelps-Dodge) was acquired. This credit union had an office in New Haven and also one in Hopkinsville, KY, Both of these offices were re-branded as MidWest America branches. In early 2011, the Credit Union consolidated our branch in Charleston, IL with the Mattoon branch.
New Products & Services
In late 2013, mobile banking was introduced to the membership. This new product has proven to be very popular. Remote deposit capture and bill pay functions are now available. New construction loans were added to the list of mortgage products.
What About the Future?
In June 2014, the original branch on Swinney at Broadway was closed. By late 2012, the mammoth GE campus had been vacated. Another nearby major employer, BAE Systems, announced that they were leaving the area for a brand new facility near the airport. With these two developments and since there were 2 other full-service MidWest America branches within a 3-mile radius, the decision was made to close this office and sell the building. The free-standing full service drive-up ATM however is still operational 24/7.
With the growth of both our mortgage and commercial lending areas, the need for additional support space was obvious. Two buildings adjacent to the main office were purchased. The first building now contains the Mortgage and Underwriting departments. The other building houses the Marketing and Internal Auditing departments.
On August 11, 2015, the Wayne Haven Branch was consolidated with the New Haven office. The two facilities are only 1.7 miles apart and it made good economic sense to merge the operations.
In December 2015, a new branch was opened on East Dupont Road—just east of Diebold Road, across from Parkview Regional Medical Center. This full service facility also contains a 24/7 ATM in the drive-up. In 2016, a new 24/7 drive-up ATM was added in New Haven, IN. It is located in the parking lot of the Hall’s Restaurant on Lincoln Highway.
MidWest America currently operates 15 full-service offices, with 11 in northeast Indiana; 2 in eastern Illinois; and 2 in southwestern Kentucky. There are approximately 178 employees, 55,500 members and over $541 million in assets.
May 2016 marked the 80th year of operation for MidWest America Federal Credit Union.