An early Christmas gift came for Synod members Dec. 23, as the National Credit Union Administration (NCUA) granted a charter for a forthcoming LCMS-focused credit union.
After almost three years of work and collaboration between the Lutheran Church Extension Fund (LCEF) and partnering agencies, the NCUA approved the new entity, called Lutheran Federal Credit Union (LFCU).
“It’s an exciting enterprise for members of the LCMS,” said LCEF President and CEO Richard Robertson. “The support received for this concept through survey and focus group responses indicated a strong need and desire for an entity such as this.”
Robertson said LCEF’s role has been to provide organizational assistance and start-up capital to bring this new entity to fruition. “The LCEF board and staff are pleased to have been part of the process that led to the granting of a charter to operate,” Robertson said.
The credit union is a corporation separate from LCEF, and it will operate in separate offices at 10733 Sunset Office Drive, Suite 460, in St. Louis.
“Through LFCU, banking transactions can be conducted with an entity that shares our church’s mission and values. It’s another opportunity to promote Christian stewardship,” Robertson said.
“The credit union is focused on providing state-of-the-art banking products with superior customer service,” said Tom Buuck, formerly LCEF’s chief credit officer who has worked closely with regulators to gain the approval and prepare operations. “The purpose of this LCMS-focused credit union is to offer products and services which individuals, congregations and ministries would otherwise use through secular entities. We can now offer them at lower costs and to benefit organizations of the LCMS.”
Along with the granting of a charter, the NCUA approved the field of membership for the credit union to include the LCMS; associated districts; congregations and schools and their members; LCMS agencies, employees and their families.
“Personal loans for LCMS rostered church workers is an area of opportunity the credit union offers,” Buuck said. Currently, LCEF is limited in the number of states it can offer loans; the credit union will be a national entity offering loans in all 50 states.
NCUA regulators working with Buuck said the number of proposed products the credit union may offer is unprecedented. However, Buuck said they based the decision to allow the large number of products because of LCEF’s impressive “track record.”
A governing Board of Directors appointed for Lutheran Federal Credit Union is working on plans associated with actual operations. Members of the board are:
- Michael Kzirian, Cranford, N.J. — board chair;
- Sue Elsholz, Birmingham, Mich. — secretary and treasurer;
- Ken Krueger, St. Louis — board member;
- Randall Peterson, Gladstone, Mich. — board member; and
- Richard Robertson, St. Louis — board member.
Buuck said Lutheran Federal Credit Union could become operational as early as the second quarter of 2015. Details about the exact offerings, scheduled launch and timeline for full rollout will be announced by the credit union board and those selected to lead the new enterprise in the coming months.
Questions about the credit union may be emailed to Info@LutheranFCU.org.