Up until his death in July, former President/CEO DeFarra "Dean" Gaymon was working on re-opening a Credit Union of Atlanta branch to serve in a historic and underserved area of downtown Atlanta.
The $55 million CU is set to re-open a third branch on Auburn Avenue today. Closed since May due to renovations, the branch was acquired from a merger between CU of Atlanta and Wheat Street Baptist Church Credit Union in early 2004. While the merger enhanced the products and services offered to members, the branch's design limited the amount of service staff could provide, according to Cassandra Brown, assistant vice president of marketing and business development at CUA. The redesign will afford members the opportunity to open new accounts and investments and apply for loans. The Sweet Auburn branch will also have a walk-up ATM and house the CU's call center.
Through the branch, Gaymon also wanted to continue the CU's commitment to the mostly senior citizen residents of Wheat Street Towers by providing a convenient financial institution, Brown said. CUA was recently certified as a community development financial institution, she added.
Known as the Sweet Auburn Historic District, Auburn Avenue was a hub for African-American-owned businesses, social organizations and civil rights' gatherings. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.'s childhood home is located nearby as is Ebenezer Baptist Church, once presided over by the young minister and his father. Founded by the late Coretta Scott King, The King Center is within walking distance of King's childhood home.
"Due to the tremendous rich history in the Auburn Avenue area, Mr. Gaymon wanted to make sure that the credit union continued to have a strong presence within the community," Brown said.
Gaymon was shot and killed by a New Jersey undercover sheriff's detective July 16.