After providing financial services to the Wittenberg community for over 54 years, the Wittenberg Federal Cedit Union will be closing its office in the Shouvlin Center at the end of October. The financial service provider will be merging with the much larger International Harvester (IH), starting Nov. 1.
Wittenberg’s credit union was first formed by four students in the early 60s, each of whom contributed an initial $10 to establish a financial service provider on campus that could provide loans or reasonable amounts of credit.
Originally, the credit union only offered basic banking services to Wittenberg employees. However, as time went on, the services were expanded to families of employees, and the Wittenberg community more broadly.
Wittenberg’s credit union has struggled to generate enough revenue in recent years to remain feasible. While older members of the community have continued to utilize their services, the credit union has been unable to market itself towards younger generations of Wittenberg students and their families.
“Because of our size, we haven’t been able to afford a lot of the services to attract new members,” said credit union office manager Sue Ankrom. “Our fees over the last few years have been so low that we haven’t been able to provide new services. We can’t attract younger clients.”
A dwindling client base and increasingly lower fee structures forced the credit union’s board to consider merging with a larger credit union in order to survive. The merge has been negotiated over the course of the last 6 months.
IH is a much larger financial institution with substantially more clients in Clark and Champagne Counties. The multimillion dollar corporation has offices based in Springfield and Urbana, and is a well-known service provider to the agricultural industry in rural Ohio.
“We are pleased to announce that Wittenberg Federal Credit Union will be merging with IH Credit Union,” posted International Harvester on its website. “We would like to welcome all of our new members from Wittenberg Federal Credit Union!”
For those members of the Wittenberg community who use the credit union, the merge will change very little. Fee structures for existing clients may change to meet IH’s financial requirements but, for the most part, accounts will simply be transferred over to the new provider.