Credit union adds branches |

Credit union adds branches

Judith Harlan

With two new branches under construction, the 48,000-member Greater Nevada Credit Union is banking on continued growth in consumer demand for the not-for-profit alternative to traditional institutions.

In fact, as the Carson City-based financial cooperative reviews its growth, says Kerstin Plemel, vice president of marketing, it can point to a steady increase in total assets over the last few years.

In 2002,Greater Nevada Credit Union reported $339 million in total assets; in 2003 that number rose to $382 million.

And in 2004, it reported $433 million in total assets.

Greater Nevada Credit Union is renovating a 4,500-square-foot property at 4131 N.

Carson Street in Carson City,with opening scheduled for this summer the firm’s fourth in Carson City.And it is breaking ground on a 5,200- square-foot branch on Sierra Center Parkway in south Reno,with opening planned for fall.

Wit the completion of these two branches, the credit union will have 10 branches, serving 10 northern Nevada counties.

Plemel attributes some of the firm’s growth to a Greater Nevada Credit Union awareness campaign that’s going into its fifth year.

In 2001, she says,when the credit union tested consumer awareness of its services, 77 percent responded positively.

In 2004, 85 percent said they knew about the credit union.

The advertising campaign has been effective, she says, but possibly more important has been the positive word-of-mouth growing exponentially from new and old customers.

Fueling growth, too, are auto loans, she says.

In 2004,Greater Nevada held 7.2 percent of the northern Nevada car loan market.According to the Department of Motor Vehicles report, Greater Nevada funded 3,751 loans out of 52,227 vehicles financed.

The next largest market shareholder was GMAC Financial Services, with 6.1 percent.

Many of those vehicle loans came to Greater Nevada, says Plemel, through an indirect lending program with local auto dealers.

Through the program, consumers can sign up for credit union membership and an auto loan at the same time as signing for a new vehicle.

Greater Nevada Credit Union employs 220 people and will add about 12 new staff in each of its two new branches.Architects Plus is designing the Carson City renovation; Carlin Williams Architects is designing the Reno

building,with construction by Trammell Crow.