The Arrowhead Park Association is featuring Sun Federal Credit Union as the July 2019 Member of the Month.
Sun Federal Credit Union, with 12 branches serving Ohio, Michigan, and Pennsylvania, started 65 years ago with $100 in a cigar box. When a Sun Oil refinery employee was turned down for a loan at his local bank, ten co-workers pooled their money to provide their friend a loan, starting Sun Federal. The credit union, with 12 branches spanning several states, no longer stores money in a cardboard box, but has not changed its mission to improve the quality of life for each member.
According to Jennifer Compton, Director of Business Development for Sun Federal, the credit union now has 350 partner groups, such as Anthony Wayne Schools, who they serve with financial resources, education and wealth management. “We are not-for-profit and in the financial business solely to help our customers prosper,” offered Compton. “We provide the education piece to give them the ability to handle their finances independently… from car loans to wealth management.” Sun Federal assists small businesses at a lower cost than commercial banks with a complete complement of financial products. There are no brokers used; the team at Sun works directly with clients on all products.
What differentiates Sun Federal from other banking institutions? Compton offered, “Credit unions in general are good since they are member-owned. At Sun, we want you to be financially successful. We educate you to ensure this.”
Sun Federal has been at 1627 Holland Drive since 1995. They enjoy being close to many small business customers in Arrowhead Park. “Just take a look at our business products,” shared Compton. “Our small business options will save you money.”
Locally, there are six branches plus a student run branch at Clay High School. Inspired by a successful program in southern Ohio, students run actual transactions at their high school branch for staff, teachers and students. The student tellers are chosen through interviews and go through training from Sun Federal. They learn about all products and services. “The program provides the students a real-life business education.” said Compton. “We teach students about budgets, and other financial basics and they in-turn teach their friends.” Compton said the students want to know how to fill out their FASFA and handle college costs. “They learn not to spend their student loans on pizza!” continued Compton. Clay High School will have 10 seniors on staff this coming school year. The students can’t view balances or account details, so students and teachers can privately complete their transactions.
Sun Federal enjoys giving back to the community. “If you improve the quality of life for a young person now, they will carry that through life and into retirement” said Compton. One of her former students came into the branch to set up his first ROTH IRA at age 19. He had plans to become a nurse, and hopefully retire early.
Compton also teaches student education programs at Washington Local,
Ottawa Hills, Anthony Wayne, Oregon, and Cardinal Stritch. She asks students at the beginning if they know anyone struggling with money. All the hands shoot up. Sadly, according to personal finance website Bankrate.com, approximately 62% of Americans have no emergency savings for things such as a $1,000 emergency room visit or a $500 car repair.
“There is a way to not worry about money by shifting your mindset. Knowing the difference between wants and needs and spending within your budget.” Compton continued, “It is so rewarding to see young people looking at life with joy and seeing them not stressed about money.”
Fortunately, credit unions did not fall under the mortgage market bubble burst of 2008 because they never strayed from their conservative loan structure, not over-leveraging homes for a profit. “Our loans were always about putting a young person in a home, or helping them get their first car.” said Compton, “not about profits.”
Jennifer Compton has been at Sun Federal for 23 years. She started as a teller, went back to school, then into lending, and was a branch manager. Now, as Director of Business Development, she works with HR teams to set up programs for employees, and encourages employees to start retirement and savings plans. Contact Jennifer Compton to find out how your business can partner with Sun Federal.