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FAIRBORN, Ohio – Wright-Patt Credit Union, Inc. is among the latest credit unions in Ohio to take advantage of new rules that allow charters to serve both select employee groups and “well-defined” communities. The largest credit union in the state, WPCU recently received approval from the Ohio Department of Financial Institutions to extend its field of membership to roughly 400,000 residents who live in Clark, Clinton, Miami and Warren counties. The new FOM could potentially triple the credit union’s current 153,000-member base. WPCU has $660 million in assets. The move comes a year after WPCU extended its charter to all residents who live, work, go to school or church in Green County and with the hopes of keeping pace with market growth which has steadily increased over the past two years, said Douglas Fecher, WPCU’s president/CEO. “We’re looking to provide a solid basis for future growth,” Fecher said. “Most of the employers here are served by credit unions, and it’s just a matter of keeping up with market growth.” Indeed, despite the instability of the economy, WPCU has seen solid returns this year with a 1.8% return on assets, Fecher said. Members have reaped the benefits through attractive certificate of deposit, money market account and share certificate rates. WPCU is hoping these perks will woo residents in the area, Fecher said. The credit union currently has 15 branches and is evaluating plans to open additional service centers, automated teller machines and kiosks in the new membership areas. In February, WPCU closed two of its Columbus branches so that members could participate in the Shared Service Delivery Network, a nationwide branch network that allows transactions to be conducted at more than 500 credit unions around the country. Credit unions participating in Ohio’s shared branching network have seen monthly transactions more than double between October and December 2000, according to OCUL Services Corp., the Ohio CU System affiliate that administers the program. Approximately 8,900 members are now able to conduct financial business via telephone, through mail and over the Internet at Telhio, BMI Federal, Western, Kemba Columbus and Core One credit unions since WPCU joined the network. Fecher added that while the credit union has 1,200 SEGs with 50,000 of its members affiliated with Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, many residents in the four counties were already members of WPCU. The Air Force base alone is Ohio’s largest single-site employer, supporting some 22,000 military and civilian jobs with a payroll of nearly $1 billion, according to the state’s revenue department. Still, many of the potential members live in rural areas, and Fecher said they’ve been getting the word out to residents through local radio stations, newspaper advertisements and word of mouth. – [email protected]

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