By Don Bolding
Killeen Daily Herald
Killeen's newest federal credit union office, a branch of Texell Federal Credit Union of Temple, opened
April 12 in the space formerly occupied by Greater Killeen Federal Credit Union. Officials say people in the neighborhood were really eager for it.
"We would be working over there and go to lunch with our name badges on, and people everywhere would keep asking us when we were going to open," said Texell president Tony Hale of Temple. "It was great to finally open the doors for them."
The office is a 2,100-square-foot space that Greater Killeen FCU had had for many years at 2208 Sunny Lane. Greater Killeen FCU was started in 1957 as Killeen Teachers Federal Credit Union to serve education professionals, later extending membership to others in the community. It opened a larger location on Elms Road in 2006 and later closed the north Killeen office with its neighborhood atmosphere.
"It's unusual for a credit union to open a new location and then close the old one," Hale said. "We weren't aware they had done that for a while, but when we learned it, we immediately thought that moving in there would be a great way to expand into the west Bell County area. We already have 1,500 members west of Nolanville, of about 26,000 all over the county, and this gives them an easy way to visit face-to-face even if they're comfortable doing business online. Our new members there so far have been mostly referrals from existing members."
He said it's too early to speculate about future expansion plans.
Marketing manager Mary Ann Nickolai said Texell, with three offices in Temple and one in Belton, is already the biggest federal credit union in Bell County, with $135 million in assets. Many members who live in Harker Heights have already started using the Sunny Lane office, and other members in the eastern part of the county have been referring friends and relatives in Killeen.
"Word of mouth has been doing us a lot of good," Nickolai said, "but we're also advertising on billboards, in the newspaper and other ways."
The Killeen branch had an invitational wine and cheese reception Tuesday and a grand opening Thursday. It belongs to both the Greater Killeen and Harker Heights chambers of commerce.
The building remains largely the same outside, "but we completely gutted the interior to make it much more spacious," Nickolai said.
The office has a staff of six headed by Taylor Mungia, former assistant manager of the Belton office. Mungia, a Bell County native, has been assistant manager at most of Texell's locations in five years of service. With an associate degree from Temple College, he is completing requirements for a bachelor's degree in business from Texas A&M University-Central Texas.
"We've signed up a lot of new members and had a lot of loan business so far," he said. "It's nice to be meeting new people who are coming in because they've been referred. Word-of-mouth has been working because our customer service speaks for itself."
"We offer low rates and comprehensive packages. When you close a mortgage with our funding, a Texell employee goes with you," said Amy Merriman, vice president for member services.
Credit unions, unlike banks, do not have to show profits to boards of directors, Hale said. They are accountable only to their members, who belong to defined population segments in defined areas. Texell offers checking, savings, loans, certificates of deposit, individual retirement accounts and mortgage loans, among other services, to people in Bell County.
Texell began as a credit union for postal workers in 1948, later expanding as the Temple Area Federal Credit Union. It adopted the name "Texell" in 2001.
Its location at 416 Lake Road in Belton is an entirely new building replacing the former location a block away.
Contact Don Bolding at email@example.com or call (254) 501-7557. Follow him on Twitter at KDHbusiness.