Lindsay Weldon speaks to Valley Kiwanis Club

Published 6:40 am Thursday, June 10, 2021

EDITOR’S NOTE: This article has been corrected to say that Chattahoochee Federal Credit Union has a branch location at 519 Fob James Drive in Valley.

VALLEY — Lindsay Weldon, a member solutions specialist with the Chattahoochee Federal Credit Union (CFCU), was the guest speaker at Wednesday’s noon hour meeting of the Kiwanis Club of Valley. She talked about the differences between a credit union and a bank.

“You have to be a member of a credit union to be served,” she said. “There’s a common denominator to being a member. Anyone who lives, works or worships in Chambers County can be a member of our credit union.”

The CFCU was formed in 1985 by eight WestPoint Pepperell employees. Though WestPoint Pepperell no longer has the presence it once did in the local community, those who worked for the company and their family members are allowed to join the local credit union if they so wish. The CFCU is located a short distance away from the West Point Home Mill Store.

“All our decisions are made under one roof on Fob James Drive,” Weldon said. “We have one branch location. We have been in the local community since 1985 and are still rocking and rolling along. We would love for anyone to join us.”

The CFCU is governed by an eight-member volunteer board made up of well-known local people.

“I love what I do, where I work and who I work for,” Weldon said.

Banks typically have a much broader reach. In most cases, they are headquartered out of state with their board of directors being made up of key investors.

“We think it’s important to know the needs of our neighbors and our former classmates,” Weldon said. “What we do is well summed up in our vision statement: ‘Building lifelong relationships one member at a time.’ Our office is located in a town with 9,286 people. Everybody knows everybody. Our members are former high school classmates, friends and acquaintances we see at local sporting events, new residents who have been brought in by key industries, pillars of our community. It’s a list that goes on and on.”

Long before the pandemic hit, it was the CFCU’s mission to have strong relationships with its members, Weldon said.

“When the tough times hit in 2020, they picked up the phone and asked for us by name,” she added. “When we answered we called them by their name and did what we do best – be there for them in any season of their life.”

The CFCU’s management team, along with its board, implemented Covid-19 skip-a-pays.

“This allowed our members to shift their financial focus to the unexpected areas impacted most by their Covid-19 experience,” Weldon said. “We are proud to have ended 2020 with a zero percent delinquency ratio. During this time, we also saw a 4.11 percent overall loan growth. Whether through new purchases or refinancing to save money, our members made the right moves to secure a better financial future.”

What was done last year, Weldon said, wasn’t different from any other year.

“I don’t think we did anything different to serve our members,” she said. “We did what we’ve always done — prioritizing our members and serving their needs to the best of our abilities. It doesn’t take a pandemic for the CFCU to shine, we humbly shine every day. It was just easier to see during a pandemic.”

Weldon said the local credit union assists its members with all kinds of financial issues.

“We are passionate about financial literacy,” she said. “Many times, parents don’t talk about this to their children. We love going to schools and giving local students literature about saving and investing and talking to them about managing their money, how to write a check and how to balance their checkbook. The earlier you learn this the better. Being financially literate can help you avoid the pitfalls one can easily fall into at any age.”

Weldon said the main thing she wanted to get across is that the CFCU is local. Its decisions aren’t made out of state, and the staff and volunteer board make it a point to know all their members personally.

Chattahoochee Federal Credit Union has a branch location at 519 Fob James Drive in Valley.