Banking & Finance

Cardinal Credit Union Enters Mahoning County

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AUSTINTOWN, Ohio – Cardinal Credit Union staff held the 10-foot length of blue ribbon their new president and CEO, Christine Blake, cut Tuesday afternoon in front of its newest branch here in the Austintown Plaza.

The brief ceremony celebrated the entrance of the credit union headquartered in Mentor into Mahoning County.

With Blake were state Reps. John Boccieri and Michelle Lepore Hagan, D-58 and D-59, Mahoning County Auditor Ralph Meacham and township Trustee Rick Stauffer.

The Tri-County Credit Union, Canfield, and Youngstown City Employees Credit Union – its office is on Rayen Avenue in Youngstown — joined Cardinal earlier this summer. Signage above the office in Austintown still identifies it as the Edison Financial Credit Union.

In their brief remarks of congratulations, Hagan noted she belongs to a credit union while Boccieri called credit unions “an economic engine of the community.”

Cardinal, founded in 1953 as the Mentor School Teachers Credit Union, today has 12 offices in Lake, Cuyahoga, Ashtabula, Portage, Summit and Mahoning counties, 78 employees, more than 30,000 members and assets of $250 million. It is among the top 25 on Ohio as ranked by assets, Blake said.

More than half of its 78 employees are certified financial counselors, a designation awarded by the Credit Union National Association, Blake said. As such, the counselors advise and guide members on personal finance and how to raise their credit scores.

Cardinal, an approved U.S. Small Business Administration lender, also offers business services that include loans for any general business purpose, its website says, of up to $250,000 for up to 25 years. Rates can be fixed or variable.

Recognition of the need to offer more and better services to their members prompted Tri-County, Youngstown City Employees and Edison to join Cardinal, Blake said. The three added $15 million in assets to Cardinal. For credit unions that small, the cost of complying with increased regulations and a low interest rate environment “makes it difficult to compete,” she said.

By joining Cardinal, the new members in Mahoning County can take advantage of the credit union’s mobile app on their smartphones, remote capture, shared branching and a shared network of 43,000 ATMs across the United States, that is, they can use these ATMs without paying a foreign transaction fee.

“We’re a full-service mortgage lender,” Blake added, something the three credit unions lacked. This makes it possible for the newest members to finance their residences at Cardinal.

Pictured: State Reps. John Boccieri and Michelle Lelpore Hagan, Cardinal Credit Union CEO Christine Blake, Austintown Township Trustee Rick Stauffer and Mahoning County Auditor Ralph Meacham.

Published by The Business Journal, Youngstown, Ohio.