People often surprised with ease of joining credit union
By Mark Sherry
Staffing the Kiel office of Premier Financial Credit Union are (front, from left) Branch Manager Peggy and Lisa, and (back) Heidi, Nancy and Wendy.

The people at PFCU can identify some FAQs they hear about the CU, everything from ATMs to CDs to IRAs.

All acronyms aside, Premier Financial Credit Union—with offices in Kiel, New Holstein and Chilton—continues to answer what seem like basic questions about credit unions. Once people get those answers and become members, they discover for themselves the significant advantages of belonging to a credit union.

Here are a few of those frequently asked questions which member service representatives and other staff members at Premier Financial gladly answer for prospective members:

What is a credit union?

A credit union is a not-for-profit institution. They offer many of the same products and services as banks, including savings and checking accounts, personal and mortgage loans, automated teller machines (ATMs) and online banking—but there are also big differences which can save members money. Credit unions are owned and controlled by their members, not profit-driven shareholders. That means the average credit union can offer better rates and lower fees.

Do you have to be part of a “union” to join Premier Financial Credit Union?

No, you do not have to be part of a union to join PFCU. To join people must reside or be employed in Calumet, Manitowoc or Sheboygan counties, or certain portions of Outagamie and Fond du Lac counties. Any member of the immediate family of any eligible person may become a member in a manner provided in PFCU’s bylaws. Immediate family consists of a spouse, child, parent, grandparent, grandchild, sister, brother and in-laws, regardless of residence. Further questions about membership eligibility can be directed to the Member Service Department.

What are the benefits of becoming a member of Premier Financial?

For only a deposit of $5 or more, a person becomes a member-owner of PFCU. The minimum balance a member must keep in their account is only $5. Also, PFCU’s “once a member, always a member” policy ensures membership even if they happen to move out of the area. Premier Financial Credit Union has full-service offices in Kiel, New Holstein and Chilton for the convenience of its members.

PFCU has made things even more convenient at its Kiel office in the past couple years. The drive-through area has been reconstructed for easier use and the parking lot was expanded last year. More recently, Premier Financial has remodeled its lower level in Kiel into a mortgage closing room, and a second sit-down area was created upstairs for representatives to work with members or prospective members.

“That completes for now the effort to make the Kiel office more inviting,” said Steve Nothem, president and chief executive officer of Premier Financial Credit Union. Nothem added that there have not been any staff changes at the Kiel office in the past year. An experienced, knowledgeable staff is the norm throughout all three PFCU locations.

Having a staff like that certainly makes it easier to introduce new products and services, and Premier Financial has a few of those coming in 2013.

Secure mobile access is in the testing phase at this time and should be ready to go live in late spring, allowing members to perform many account monitoring and transaction functions via their cellphones. Sonny Schaar of PFCU said having a mobile site is something her young friends tell her would be a nice advantage for them, and one more benefit

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