Financial One in business for 80 years

Financial One Credit Union is celebrating 80 years in business.

Ross Bloomquist, president and chief executive officer of Financial One, led a ribbon cutting ceremony to mark the credit union’s 80th anniversary in business. The credit union opened in 1933 in Columbia Heights and now has offices in Coon Rapids and Blaine as well. The 80th anniversary event took place at the Coon Rapids office Sept. 25.

Ross Bloomquist, president and chief executive officer of Financial One, led a ribbon cutting ceremony to mark the credit union’s 80th anniversary in business. The credit union opened in 1933 in Columbia Heights and now has offices in Coon Rapids and Blaine as well. The 80th anniversary event took place at the Coon Rapids office Sept. 25.

Founded in Columbia Heights in 1933, where it has its headquarters, Financial One has expanded over the years and has had an office in Coon Rapids for more than 20 years and another in Blaine for nine years.

An anniversary cookout and ribbon cutting ceremony took place at the Coon Rapids office on Robinson Drive Sept. 25 and another event was at the Blaine office on Baltimore Street Sept. 26.

“It is an honor to be able to host this milestone,” said Ross Bloomquist, president and chief executive officer.

Bloomquist has over 20 years in the credit union industry and joined Financial One as executive vice president in 2009. He was named chief executive officer and president July 19 this year.

The fact that Financial One has been in business for so long is “not difficult to comprehend” because of the dedication and work of its staff and the services it has been able to offer its members over the years, Bloomquist said.

“We have had the right people in place to implement the idea of a credit union,” he said.

Financial One has undergone two name changes in its 80 years.

When it opened at 40th and Central avenues in Columbia Heights, it was as Columbia Heights Credit Union, then it became First Community Credit Union and changed to Financial One Credit Union six to seven years ago, according to Bloomquist.

Financial One is at its third office in Columbia Heights, but still at 40th and Central, Bloomquist said.

When it expanded to Coon Rapids, it was located in the now-razed strip retail center that was next to the former Target store at 111th Avenue and Coon Rapids Boulevard, Bloomquist said.

The current Coon Rapids office on Robinson Drive was built and opened 15 years ago, he said.

Brian Benson heads the Coon Rapids office and Tammi Pobuda is manager of the Blaine office.

Until three years ago, Financial One also had an office in Champlin, but that was closed during the recession, Bloomquist said.

According to Bloomquist, Financial One was able to weather the recession, but it was tougher for credit unions to do so than banks because credit unions have fewer sources of revenues than banks.

“The recession was tough,” Bloomquist said.

But in the past two years, Financial One has emerged from the recession and grown its membership, he said.

Indeed, Financial One now has 7,200 members and has achieved growth of 7.5 percent in the past year, Bloomquist said.

“That’s three times the industry standard,” he said.

Most of the membership comes from Anoka County, for which Federal One is chartered, Bloomquist said.

In addition, Financial One draws members from northern Hennepin County and the city of Champlin, he said.

According to Bloomquist, the long-term future of Financial One involves continuing to increase its membership and enhancing member services as well as involvement in the communities it serves through membership in organizations and community projects.

For example, Financial One will soon be starting an insurance program for members who take out auto and home loans with the credit union, Bloomquist said.

“We are making these loans all day, so it made sense to provide insurance as well,” he said.

In addition, Financial One is planning to launch mobile banking technology before the end of the year.

As a not-for-profit, member-owned and controlled organization, Financial One is able to return all profits to its members and the interest rate on its loans is lower than banks, while the interest rate on deposits is higher, Bloomquist said.

Financial One was recently awarded a national grant from NerdWallet.com, a financial resource company based in San Francisco, Calif., for its GenY program, which will provide tools and advice to empower youth to maintain their finances.

Financial One has 30 full- and part-time employees spread over its three offices.

The longest serving is Chief Financial Officer Deb Connell, who has been with Financial One for 17 years, Bloomquist said.

Peter Bodley is at peter.bodley@ecm-inc.com

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