Alexa Doiron

The NRV Credit Union celebrated 80 years of business in June. The credit union started with just eight members from the Radford Pipe Shop in 1937 and has grown to serve 2,600 members in the community.

The NRV Credit Union celebrated 80 years of business in the New River Valley this past month by contributing in community events and remembering the years of dedication to its members.

In the beginning, the NRV Credit Union began with only eight employees from the Pipe shop in the West End who wanted a place to bank. In 1937, the year of its conception, it was far more difficult for people to bank when they didn’t have the income required. However, workers wanted a place to keep their money safe and invest in their community. A credit union was formed to provide the Pipe shop workers with the banking services they needed and so the Radford Pipe Shop Employees Credit Union was formed.

Since then, the Credit Union has grown to serve the entire New River Valley and contributes to the community in more ways than just banking. Starting with only right Pipe Shop members, the credit union has grown to serve 2,600 members.

Just since 2015, the credit union has doubled the amount of loans given out and helped people to buy homes. The credit union helps people with financial education classes, balancing checkbooks, and does taxes for free for members every year.

“As a Credit Union we help people to get their financial goals in line and help people in the community out of financial hardships,” Owen McKinnie, NRV Credit Union manager said. “We’re not trying to be like the big banks. How we measure our success is one member at a time and to help them financially succeed.”

The NRV Credit Union participates and plans multiple activities in the region from a Stuff-the-Bus event, to even having students come in and learn how to write a check. In the future, McKinnie said he hopes that the business will continue to grow in its non-profit work. Events are not limited to simply financial categories, either.

The credit union has held a bike safety workshop for youth in the area as well as member appreciation days. The community is the focus of the business, McKinnie said, and that’s what makes the difference.

“A community-based business can only grow with community support,” he said.

Other positives of a community Credit Union are that there are no shareholders and lower interest rates. This helped people, even in the very beginning, to gain financial stability Sherry Sutphin, former Assistant Manager, said.

“There’s people that wouldn’t have anything if it hadn’t been for that credit union.”

Stuphin worked for the NRV Credit Union for 27 years, starting in accounting, moving to loan services, and then eventually becoming the assistant manager. Her experience, she said, is that a credit union focuses on the members as individuals, not as numbers.

Part of the success is the merging of businesses, such as absorbing the Carroll County Schools Credit Union in 2016, and partnering with the universities and organizations in the area.

In celebration of the 80 years of business, the credit union is holds 80 days of events that began on May 5 and will conclude on Aug. 25. The next event will be a Merger Mixer at Hillsville Recreation park on Aug. 5 from 11-3 p.m.

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