Credit unions in New Hampshire and Missouri are firming up their partnership with Walmart this month by opening new in-store branches.
The $1.7 billion First Community of St. Louis, one of the nation’s CU leaders in retaining a Walmart presence, said it opened a new branch last month in Granite City, Ill. and is cleared to open a second facility there, its 13th overall, probably by next summer.
“And we’re ready if they throw us another bone next year,” declared Glenn Barks, president/CEO of First Community.
Meanwhile, the $1.8 billion Service CU of Portsmouth, N.H. which has seven Walmart branches, is opening its eighth in Concord next month to be followed by its ninth in early 2012 in Tilton.
“Who cannot appreciate the seven-day-a-week exposure and footprint?” asked Gordon Simmons, president/CEO. He said while there may be high transaction volume, the costs have been minimal as compared to the visibility advantage.
Like First Community in Missouri, Service does have to compete with banks in the bidding process as they vie for perches in the nation’s largest retailer chain.
Both CUs said they have long nurtured a strong supportive network with Walmart management. First Community said it received site assistance by Financial Supermarkets Inc., the Cornelia, Ga. vendor which for years has helped CUs and banks place and brand supermarket branches.
Officials of both First Community and Service said they remain unworried so far about competition from Walmart’s own check cashing/financial service for shoppers handled at in-store outlets.
“We maintain a good relationship with Walmart,” Barks said, adding that Financial Supermarkets has also helped the credit union in the Georgia firm’s ad campaigns.