CoVantage Credit Union is pleased to announce the senior-level promotion of one of their employees, and the addition of two new members of the senior management team.
Bryan Ermeling has been promoted to senior vice president-buildings and new markets, while Janel Thoune, senior vice president-marketing and mission, and Cheryl Fanning, senior vice president-retail service, sales, and operations, have joined the credit union.
With his new role, Ermeling will oversee building and grounds, construction projects, annual facility budgets, credit union mergers, and new market opportunities. He was promoted in recognition of the increase in responsibilities for providing leadership to facility operations and oversight of the complex management of construction projects.
Thoune previously worked at Peoples State Bank as vice president/marketing director and brings 20 years of leadership and marketing strategic planning to her new role as SVP-marketing and mission. Prior to her experience in the financial industry, she served for seven years as regional marketing and public relations specialist for Marshfield Clinic. Thoune earned an MBA from UW Oshkosh with an emphasis in marketing in 2014 and her CFMP designation (certified financial marketing professional) in 2016. She has been active in the Wausau community including Marathon County United Way and Wausau Child Care, Inc. She was also recognized in the Wausau area as a “20 Under 40 Honoree” in 2017.
Cheryl Fanning, CoVantage’s new SVP retail services, sales and operations, previously worked at UW Credit Union as director of member sales and service and brings over 35 years of management and customer service excellence to CoVantage. She has a strong background in all retail functions, employee development, training, and project management. In her new role, Fanning will provide leadership and supervision for all aspects of member service and operations at all CoVantage locations. She will be responsible for ensuring members receive outstanding value and exceptional service regardless of delivery channel, and ensuring each branch contributes to the long-term continued growth of the credit union.
CoVantage Credit Union announced today that it has entered into an agreement to purchase substantially all of the assets and liabilities of LincolnWay Community Bank, a wholly-owned subsidiary of LWCBancorp, Inc., which has two locations in northern Illinois.
While the agreement is contingent on obtaining regulatory and LincolnWay shareholder approvals, the proposed transaction has been unanimously approved by the boards of directors of both organizations. Plans are being made to combine the staff, assets, loans, and other accounts of the $277 million LincolnWay Community Bank into the $2.7 billion CoVantage Credit Union. When the purchase is complete, which is targeted for the fourth quarter of 2022, CoVantage will have $3 billion in assets with 500 employees in Wisconsin, Michigan, and Illinois.
According to CoVantage CEO, Charlie Zanayed, “We are pleased to have found a partner whose culture and values are well aligned with CoVantage. LincolnWay Community has focused on making exceptional service a priority for their personal and business banking customers like we do for those we serve at CoVantage. They are extraordinarily successful commercial lenders, particularly in commercial development and commercial real estate lending. CoVantage is also a highly successful commercial lender and is one of only a few credit unions nationally that has been serving commercial members the entire time we’ve been in business, which for CoVantage Credit Union is going on 70 years. By partnering with LincolnWay Community businesses, we can deliver the size and scale that is needed to survive and thrive today. We are excited about the opportunity to help more businesses grow by expanding our commercial relationships through competitive loan rates, low or no cost business deposit services, and providing the service businesses expect. CoVantage is also a leading mortgage lender throughout the communities we serve, and our rates and fees are consistently rated among the best-of-the-best. We feel this is an opportune time to provide outstanding value and exceptional service to Northern Illinois.”
“CoVantage Credit Union is a high-performing, growing, and successful community-minded organization. We chose to partner with CoVantage because its culture, leadership, and commercial real estate lending all align very closely with ours,” said LincolnWay Community Bank CEO Mark Stevens. “Our customers can feel confident that this partnership only strengthens our ability to serve them in the manner they have come to expect from LincolnWay. We are excited and honored to be part of their promising future.”
According to Zanayed, “Growth is an important part of keeping CoVantage strong. Partnering with LincolnWay Community provides us an opportunity to serve a new market with the award-winning products and services CoVantage delivers to our 140,000 member-owners. With growth, we can provide more value and services that benefit all members, like the elimination of all overdraft fees on CoVantage checking accounts that was announced last fall. I truly believe the mission of CoVantage and the good work that we do is needed more today than ever before. I am excited about the positive impact this purchase will allow CoVantage to make in the lives of those we serve, and I look forward to welcoming the LincolnWay Community customers and employees into our CoVantage Credit Union family.”
Learn more at www.covantagecu.org/lincolnway.
Join us at our Appleton location on Saturday, June 4 from 9am to noon (or the truck is filled) and shred your documents containing personal & sensitive information. Limit 3 “banker boxes” per vehicle.
Hanging file folders
As this is a FREE service and event, please consider bringing any of these food items that will be donated to St. Joseph’s Food Program: Hamburger Helper™, pasta sauce, peanut butter, jelly, canned tuna, and canned vegetables.
A record of over $5 million in patronage has been deposited into the accounts of members who borrowed and saved with CoVantage Credit Union. This is the largest patronage payment in the history of CoVantage Credit Union, and an $800,000 increase over what was provided to borrowers and savers the year before.
Patronage is a concept of giving back that originated among cooperatives many years ago. CoVantage is one of a few credit unions in the country that continue the practice, and this marks the 41st consecutive year CoVantage member-owners have received this unique financial benefit. According to CoVantage Board Chair Susan Gitzlaff, “I am so proud to be part of a credit union that truly lives their mission like we do at CoVantage. As the credit union grows and more members come to us with their savings, checking and other deposits, we loan those dollars out, so other members can buy a home, purchase a car, or in some cases, start a business. When the board and I meet at year-end, we evaluate how much income is needed in reserves to protect the credit union, and to fund regular dividends and operating expenses. Because we had such tremendous growth in loans, deposits, and new members, we were thrilled to determine we could provide over $5 million – our largest patronage payment ever - to our members! Thank you to everyone who made this possible by making payments on time, and for relying on us for your financial needs – without members, CoVantage would not exist.”
The year-end patronage payment includes a bonus on dividends earned for those who save, and a loan interest rebate for those who borrow. CoVantage depositors received a 6.1% bonus on dividends earned on eligible savings, term share certificates and variable rate accounts. Borrowers received a rebate of 6.1% of their total 2021 interest paid on qualifying vehicle, home equity, in-house mortgage, credit card, and commercial loans. For instance, if $5,000 of interest had been paid on a home loan, the borrower would receive $305 in patronage for just that loan. In addition to patronage, CoVantage also provided nearly $120,000 to members through the CoVantage match for those enrolled in Change it Up, a debit card savings program. CoVantage members used their debit card more than ever, and collectively saved over $2.3 million through Change it Up.
CoVantage President Charlie Zanayed, added, “Being able to provide outstanding value is a key part of our mission and is especially gratifying when times are tough. Along with record patronage, I’m humbled to share that in December 2020 CoVantage was ranked 1st in the nation out of over 5,000 credit unions for providing great rates and low fees (as reported by Callahan, an independent credit union research company). And in June, a Forbes survey named CoVantage the top Wisconsin credit union based on overall member satisfaction. And while this recognition is nice to receive, we’re even more thankful to now waive overdraft fees on checking accounts, which has the potential to benefit over 100,000 members who have their checking with CoVantage. We are humbled to continue to serve our member-owners, who allow us to do well by doing good.”
Further information about the CoVantage patronage program can be found at www.covantagecu.org/patronage
CoVantage Credit Union will no longer charge overdrafts fees of any kind beginning November 1st.
CoVantage Credit Union has eliminated all overdraft fees, non-sufficient fund fees, courtesy pay fees and automatic savings transfer fees on their members’ checking accounts. Previously, members whose checking account balance became negative would be charged between $2.00 and $25.00 per occurrence depending on the type of transaction that caused the account to be overdrawn. As of November 1, 2021, all members with a CoVantage checking account will receive the additional benefit of having entirely fee-free checking with no worrisome overdraft fees, and there is no need to apply or request this enhancement.
According to Brett Lee, Executive Vice President, “We believe removing overdraft and NSF fees will reduce stress and anxiety for members when they carry low balances on their checking account. It will allow them to keep more of their hard-earned money instead of being penalized every time an unfortunate overdraft occurs.” Additionally, CoVantage provides members with tools to monitor their account including email alerts when funds are low or certain checks clear the account.
“Because of CoVantage’s financial fortitude and more members placing their trust in us for their loan and deposit accounts, we are able to pass more value back to our member-owners by no longer charging overdraft fees. As a mission-driven credit union, CoVantage has always taken great pride in having lower fees than the industry averages, and this change will truly make our checking accounts completely free of fees. We are excited to be one of a very small group of financial institutions across the country to eliminate overdraft fees,” said Lee.
CoVantage Credit Union is a purpose driven organization with a mission to welcome all regardless of wealth, providing outstanding value and exceptional service, and work with members experiencing financial challenges. Headquartered in Antigo, Wisconsin, the credit union has $2.6 billion in assets and serves over 135,000 members across all of their locations. Founded in 1953, the financial cooperative serves members living or working in 30 counties in Wisconsin and three counties in the U.P. of Michigan.
CoVantage Credit Union has announced plans to build a new branch in Plover and relocate their current Menasha branch.
CoVantage has purchased land at the corner of Post and Plover Road in the Village of Plover, and property at the corner of South Oneida Street just south of Highway 441 in the city of Menasha. In late fall, construction will begin on the two new 3,000-square foot branches that will feature a modern design. These offices will offer a combination of digital, self-service, and personal interactions with staff to ensure members are served in an efficient and friendly manner. The current Menasha staff will relocate and work out of the new office once it’s constructed; and in Plover, CoVantage anticipates they will be hiring 10 new employees to staff the facility. Staff will be able to assist with vehicle loans, mortgages, business loans, and deposit accounts. Interactive Teller Machines (ITMs) will be located both inside and outside under a drive-up canopy to provide fast, convenient service. The ITMs will allow members to interact with live, local tellers using video technology, where they can complete a wide range of services like cashing checks, making loan payments, transferring funds, depositing money, and getting cash.
According to Brett Lee, CoVantage Credit Union Executive Vice President, “Our Board of Directors and leaders believe now is the opportune time to build a new branch in Plover and move our current Menasha branch operations to a new location to serve our growing membership. We look forward to getting started in building these new facilities and are thankful to our member-owners for making this opportunity possible. Without our members’ support, and continued reliance on CoVantage for their loan and deposit services, our credit union would not be the strong financial cooperative we are today.”
CoVantage Credit Union has $2.6 billion in assets and serves over 135,000 members across all their locations. Founded in 1953, the financial cooperative serves members living or working in 30 counties in Wisconsin and three counties in the U.P. of Michigan.
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