LIMA, Ohio - When times get tough in Lima, Superior Federal Credit Union makes sure its `people helping people' message gets out to those in need, and earlier this month it had to do just that to handle a traumatic plant closing. "We've had our share of gloomy news here, but when one of our major manufacturers announced it was closing and dropping 250 jobs, we knew we had to act quickly to support our members," explained Phil R. Buell, president and CEO of the $171 million CU. Superior immediately sent out letters to members about to be laid off inviting them to stop in the branches to discuss their financial condition and at the same also scheduled a well-publicized "workshop" on financial education for all employees at the Milcor Corp., a producer of metal doors and hatches. Sponsorship of the Superior workshop brought extraordinary media coverage in this northwest Ohio community, triggering a large number of members to make appointments with CU staffers. "Your credit union does not have all of the answers," wrote Superior in a reassuring Dec. 29 letter sent to Milcor employees prior to the Jan. 7 workshop. The letter emphasized that Superior is ready "to assist you in making wise financial decisions" and will meet with any Milcor employee at his/her convenience. "We will confidentially discuss your individual financial situation and work to provide solutions," continued the letter. It was noted that the CU, rather than any local bank, stepped forward in reaching out to Milcor employees with the workshop and the letters. The workshop, which drew a lower than expected turnout, covered such topics as pension management, retirement planning, credit protection, budgeting and loan refinance. The workshop, held in a local restaurant, provided "an interactive financial education program" for Milcor employees during a difficult period for the community, said Superior. Newspaper articles quoted Kurt Neeper, director of marketing at the CU, as saying Superior stood ready to guide employees in protecting their financial health without destroying their credit before finding new jobs. As part of the program to promote its Milcor assistance, Neeper said the CU is "stopping long-time employees as they enter our branches and passing the word about our interest to help. Two of the seminar attendees were the union president and the payroll clerk, and each of them was given stacks of information and business cards to take back to employees." Buell, the CEO, said the CU is gratified at the workshop response since the articles appeared Jan. 8 and he added Superior is prepared for more local cutbacks should they occur. He said manufacturing jobs at Lima's biggest employers have been on the decline for some time pointing to a Ford Motor operation here "which while it hasn't closed, it used to have 4,000 jobs and now is down to 400." -email@example.com
Ohio Credit Union Wins Praise for Aiding Laid Off Workers
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