Sunday, November 07, 2010

MCCU Duluth-Central Branch Closure

Members Cooperative Credit Union Closes Duluth-Central Branch
By: Sam Elmquist

The Members Cooperative Credit Union is a credit union with character and personality, for us in Duluth it is a bank that you can trust but unfortunately its branch in the hillside has closed down. On October 28, the President and CEO of MCCU, Tammy Heikkinen, issued a press release announcing the closure of there Duluth-Central branch, which was located on Fourth Street next to the Whole Foods Co-Op.

Apparently, says the press release, their had been problems with the building in the past that were dealt with as they arose, but last week Heikkinen said in the press release, “The recent rainstorm caused substantial water damage, to the point that the building is now beyond repair. We will not risk the safety of our staff and our membership.” The staff from this branch thankfully got to keep their jobs and were dispersed among there other branches in Duluth. Their location at Miller Hill, 1600 Miller Trunk Hwy, and there location in Spirit Valley, 216 N. 40th Ave. West, are still open to there members despite the inconvenience of losing the Hillside location.

I attempted to get in touch with MCCU in an effort to get some more information about the credit unions previous infrastructure issues, but was unable to get much from them in time for this blog post.Fortunately though I was able to get in touch with Mona Cheslak, an East Hillside resident and Community Club President.

As a member of MCCU and advocate for the Hillside she had some concerns about the credit union's closure. The loss of MCCU in the Hillside means more then just a loss for the members of the credit union it also means another closed-down building in our area left to stagnate, which does not help Cheslak and those concerned for the improvement of the Hillside. “There has been a movement to rebuild the Hillside for years.” says Cheslak. People are concerned for the feeling of the Hillside, not just for the MCCU.

She spoke about the comfortable feeling of the credit union, for instance the fact that the credit union had no drive-through and that you had to go in and talk to the bankers, meant something to her and to the other Hillside members. “Were a part of that membership,” says Cheslak. The credit union offers something more personal then other banks and the loss of the central branch will be felt. Cheslak thinks that “It’s a great loss to the Hillside.” It is going to be difficult for members of MCCU, like Cheslak, to remain committed to the bank because of its removal from the Hillside, which is too bad because of what the bank means to its members and to the Hillside as a community. The other locations range so far from the former Duluth-Central branch that it is easy to foresee its inevitable affects on its members, hopefully things remain positive for MCCU and its members.