The Whitefish Credit Union broke ground Monday morning on a new 5,000-square foot building at the corner of U.S. Highway 2 and Fourth Avenue West in Columbia Falls.
The credit union has owned the two lots for about 10 years now and decided to move its offices from Nucleus Avenue about six months ago, said CEO Jim Kenyon.
The $3 million-plus facility will feature a drive-through, offices, tellers, and ATM and other amenities. Meredith Construction is the general contractor and the new facility should be completed by next March, said Roy Beekman of Meredith.
The groundbreaking ceremony was literally a groundbreaking. Schlegel Enterprises unloaded an excavator and was ready to start work.
No buyer has been announced for the Nucleus Avenue site, though there has been a lot of interest in it, as Columbia Falls is getting attention from commercial interests.
The Credit Union has seen an increase in membership in the Columbia Falls area, as overall population growth continues to out-pace the national average, said Whitefish Credit Union Chief Financial Officer, Mike Blubaugh.
“We are growing in response to growth in the Columbia Falls area itself, and we look forward to providing our members with an expanded facility that is capable of efficiently and effectively supporting the needs of our members and the community,” he said.
State-chartered in 1934, the Credit Union is the largest credit union in Montana with more than $1.4 billion in assets. Today, Whitefish Credit Union manages seven branches throughout the state, which serve the financial co-operative’s more than 58,000 members.