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Around Our Town...Business Spotlight

Wyo Central Federal Credit Union

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01/01/2006 - By Jennifer Sardam

For nearly 50 years, Wyo Central Federal Credit Union has continually served its members in and around Casper. This year, the local institution expands its commitment to members, as it prepares to offer additional services and launch a new branch on the west side of Casper.

Anyone who lives, works, worships, or attends school in Natrona or Converse counties is eligible for membership at WCFCU.

Unlike a bank, a credit union is both a full-service financial and not-for-profit organization. It is member-owned and member-run, and its board of directors is made up of volunteers elected by the membership, from the membership.

Where banks are profit-driven, our fees are there to mainly cover costs, says WCFCU Director of Marketing and Accounting Barb Jefferis. "All of our profit goes back to our members in the form of higher dividends on their share accounts and lower rates on their loans. We're 99 percent of the time, if not all the time, higher on dividends and very, very competitive on loan rates."

An initial $25 deposit is all it takes to open a savings (share) account and begin reaping the benefits already available to WCFCU's 4,000 members.

"What you're buying is a share in the credit union," says Jefferis, referring to the share account. "You're an owner of the credit union. You have a right to voice your opinion, [and] tell us what you think we need to do differently."

As an "owner" at WCFCU, you have the option to communicate with the credit union through its board of directors or voting to elect board members. Members can also stay informed through attending an annual informational meeting; and financial information is always publicly accessible to members.

Credit unions have a tradition of "people helping people," says Jefferis, who has worked in credit unions for over a decade. "We are service-oriented all the way."

She found this same philosophy already in effect when she came to WCFCU less than five months ago.

"We've been able to take a lot of people that have had major credit issues and help them learn how to clean up their credit; give them loans when nobody else would; and teach them how to manage their money," says Jefferis. "Pretty soon they've got their credit scores raised and they're very appreciative."

The credit union will soon further assist those with credit problems through financial education, beginning on a quarterly basis this year.

Jefferis says the first class will focus on the basics of checkbook management, even for preteens and teenagers who don't yet have accounts. "If they're ready for it, we will show them exactly how to write a check, how to keep a register, and how to basically manage a checkbook. They get to learn it from the ground up and early."

Another class will cover identity theft and how to keep your personal information confidential.

In addition to the WCFCU's existing 24-7 banking services like Telephone Teller and online account management, an online bill payment service will soon become available to members. And by mid-year, the new branch will open near the intersection of Wyoming Boulevard and CY Avenue.

The credit union's membership base covers a wide spectrum of the community, from a large number of businesses and churches to fraternal and nonprofit organizations.

"We benefit the community by helping the people we serve," says Jefferis. "By giving them a better deal, we're helping the community in the long run."

WCFCU is located at 190 South David Street. For more information, call (307) 234-5401, or to become a member, go to http://www.wyocentral.org/member.htm and click on the "Apply Now" button.

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