Kemba Financial Credit Union celebrates more than 85 years in operation this year, and credits a member-first approach to business as a primary reason for its longevity.
Kemba got its start as a credit union for Kroger employees in 1933 as the Kroger Employee Mutual Benefits Association.
Now, with 10 physical branch locations and one virtual, Kemba serves more than 110,000 members.
And those 110,000 members are Kemba’s part-owners or shareholders, explained Audrey Knasel, Kemba Bellefontaine branch, 1161 S. Main Street, manager.
And the member-based service is what makes Kemba special, Knasel said.
“We are very, very proud of our member care because we are member owned,” she said. “Our primary goal is our member/customer satisfaction. When you come in and look for ways to save you money or earn you money, we offer the best possible service.”
That service is both like and unlike that of a traditional bank.
“The difference between Kemba and a bank is that banks are for-profit — they make money,” Knasel explained. “Any money we make goes back to our members.”
Kemba offers all of the traditional banking products including checking accounts, savings accounts, certificates of deposits, mortgage loans, personal loans and shared-secured loans, but profits are returned to its members in the form of lower fees and better rates.
Kemba also offers financial advising.
“When you’re planning your future, a second set of eyes is a great thing to have,” Knasel said.
And that care shows through the familiarity Kemba has with its customers.
“We know 90 percent of members who walk into our branch every day,” Knasel said. “It’s family friendly — a very family feeling. We have a personal relationship with them. Logan County members appreciate that … especially in our society (with) everything so fast-paced and nothing personal, a lot of our members come in just to have that personal interaction. It’s important to have that trust.”
Another unique aspect to Kemba is that it makes its own credit and debit cards on-site, alleviating the wait of ordering a new card.
Kemba also employs fresh-start checking accounts.
“We can help people who’ve bumped their credit or banking relationships in the past,” Knasel explained.
Knasel said simply, as far as credit unions, Kemba is for everyone.
“One of biggest opportunities missed is that people don’t understand credit unions are for everyone who lives, works or worships in Logan County,” she said. “Everyone (in Logan County) is entitled to our services and to become a member. We’ve got services that really, really benefit our members and people don’t understand they can be a part of that.”
For information about Kemba visit https://www.kemba.org.