Credit Union of Georgia is a viable — and preferable, according to members — option to traditional banks. Amanda Arnold, vice president of marketing and business development, dispels a few myths about credit unions in general, and this community focused financial institution in Cherokee County.
Myth: You must belong to a particular group or organization to be a member.
Fact: Credit Union of Georgia is a community credit union. Anyone who lives or works in Cherokee, Bartow, Cobb, Pickens, Forsyth or eight other counties in Northwest Georgia are eligible to join; there are no restrictions regarding occupations or affiliations.
Myth: A credit union is too small to offer many services.
Fact: Credit Union of Georgia is large enough to provide members with the same products and services they want and need from larger financial institutions, without the exorbitant fees, yet still small enough to provide a more personalized experience.
Myth: Credit unions aren’t convenient and are less tech savvy.
Fact: From online banking to a mobile app with remote deposits, members have 24/7 access to their finances. Credit Union of Georgia also is part of a CO-OP Shared Branching Network that allows members access to nearly 30,000 surcharge-free ATMs and more than 5,300 shared branch locations, along with Publix Presto! ATMs are free of charge.
The biggest fact that distinguishes Credit Union of Georgia as an appealing alternative is that it is owned by its members.
“As a not-for-profit financial institution, Credit Union of Georgia is uniquely different, in that any money earned by the Credit Union is returned to our members/owners in the form of enhanced products and services, higher interest rates on deposits and competitive interest rates on loans,” President/CEO of Credit Union of Georgia Brian Albrecht said. “As a member-owned cooperative, our members have a direct impact on how the Credit Union operates. By being local, we are able to provide a more personal banking experience.”
There are other unique benefits of being a credit union member.
• It is a full-service financial institution. From checking and savings to mortgages and investment services, it is a one-stop shop for all of your financial needs.
• It has competitive loan rates. Members can apply online 24/7 for a loan that fits their needs at www.CUofGA.org.
• Credit Union of Georgia began by serving educators. A passion for education and giving back to local schools and the community drives year-round giving. Employees have many opportunities throughout the year to help make a difference.
• A no-cost financial advisor is available to members, offering a variety of services including stocks and bonds, mutual funds, managed accounts, annuities, IRAs and financial planning.
In the Beginning
In 1960, employees of local school districts established MACO Educators and, eventually, Credit Union of Georgia to serve its educators, staff and students. The goal was to set up a local organization that offered the best option for their finances, while letting them directly impact how their business was handled.
Over the years, membership expanded, and locations were chosen in areas most convenient for the members. Currently, there are seven branch locations, with three in Cherokee County and four in Cobb County. The locations in Cherokee County span from Towne Lake to Hickory Flat to Canton.
The CEO is a Cherokee County native, and Woodstock High graduate. He earned two bachelor’s of business administration degrees in management and finance from Valdosta State University followed by a master’s of business administration degree from Kennesaw State University. Albrecht began his banking career in Valdosta at SunTrust Bank. Later he transfered back to Cherokee County and began his career with Credit Union of Georgia, working his way up from a member service representative to president/CEO. Albrecht recently celebrated his 15th year with the Credit Union in March.
“We are in business to help individuals and businesses in our community afford life and reach their financial goals. When you are in business, first, to help people and, second, to make money for the sole purpose of providing additional products and services to the members and communities, it makes the job fun,” Albrecht said.
What Your Neighbors Are Saying
“I have used this CU for years and still have trouble understanding why people think they need to pay extravagant fees for something that you could get from a community financial institution for relative to no fees with the same service.” – Robert M.
“Working with the team at Credit Union of Georgia has been awesome. We have financed several cars with them, and they make the process so simple. … Much of it has been completed without having to even go to the branch. I love knowing I can walk into a branch and the team there knows me.” – Adam H.
“CUofGA handles both my personal and our business banking for our nonprofit. The staff is always courteous, professional and helpful. I feel fortunate to have this bank in my community as they also are involved on a proactive basis with their community outreach efforts.” – S. P.