Ten Valley Credit Union in Food City

Tennessee Valley Federal Credit Union celebrated the grand opening of a branch in the new Food City on U.S. Highway 41 in Fort Oglethorpe with a Catoosa County Chamber of Commerce ribbon-cutting. Kneeling, from left: TVFCU Financial Services Representatives Jonathan Campbell, Noel Michael and Trey Suttles. Standing (with scissors) is the Branch Manager Cathy Jo Rector. / Catoosa County Chamber of Commerce

Tammy Zumbrun’s dad worked for TVA when she was growing up. She attended the annual membership meetings of the company’s credit union with her parents and opened (with a little help) her first account when she was seven years old. “I thought the meetings were exciting,” says Zumbrun. “There were door prizes for adults and kids, and it seemed like important things were going on.”

The credit union that was started in 1934 by 57 TVA employees who pooled $500 to get started is now open to anyone, TVA employee or not, who lives within the area it serves. It boasts 142,000 members and assets of over $1.4 billion. Zumbrun is still a member. She has also been marketing communications outreach director for what is now known as the Tennessee Valley Federal Credit Union for 35 years.

TVFCU just opened a third location in Catoosa County — inside the new Food City that also just opened — at 150 U.S. Highway 41, Ringgold (but in Fort Oglethorpe). It’s their 18th location in their service area.

To celebrate, the new branch is offering some incentives and prizes, but first, a few things about the credit union.

TVFCU is a non-profit entity. It is owned by its members and profits are used to benefit members rather than stockholders, as in for-profit banks. The credit union serves a 13-county area: Catoosa, Dade and Walker counties in Georgia, and Bledsoe, Bradley, Grundy, Hamilton, Marion, McMinn, Meigs, Polk, Rhea and Sequatchie counties in Tennessee.

The criteria to become a member is generous. A person must live, work, worship, volunteer or attend school in, or own businesses or other legal entities in, or have immediate family or household members in, or be part of an organization in the 13-county region.

There is no membership fee. The only requirement is to open an account with TVFCU. No minimum deposit is required if the account is opened as a direct deposit or payroll deduction account and the potential new member signs up for e-statements.

“A lot of people get started with us seeking a car loan,” says Lisa Elrod, who like Zumbrun has worked for TVFCU for 35 years, going from part-time teller to Vice President of Operations.

Like most banks and credit unions, TVFCU offers online services and ATMs, but they also offer ITMs — interactive teller machines. “We were the first ones in this area to offer this technology,” says Elrod.

ITMs utilize touch screens and connect members with live tellers Monday-Saturday from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. There is an ITM at the new Food City branch.

Now for those incentives. Everyone opening a new direct deposit or payroll deduction account at the new branch during the month of February will receive a $50 Food City gift card and TVFCU will donate $50 to Children’s Miracle Network. Anyone who comes into the store during the month of February, whether they open an account or not, can register to win a cartload of groceries.

TVFCU celebrated its new branch on Jan. 29 with a Catoosa County Chamber of Commerce grand opening and a ribbon-cutting with a ribbon made of 110 one-dollar bills. After the ribbon cutting, the bills were donated to Children’s Miracle Network.

Hours for the new TVFCU branch are 10 a.m.-7 p.m. Monday-Friday (closed 2 p.m.-3 p.m. for lunch), and 10 a.m.-2 p.m. Saturday. To learn more about Tennessee Valley Federal Credit Union, visit their web site at tvfcu.com.