With a 93.7% affirmative vote from Central Hanna Employees Credit Union (CHECU) members, a partnership/merger between SPIRE and CHECU will become effective September 1, 2021.
Founders Willie Traeger and Elmer Kettunen organized CHECU in 1957 to serve the employees of Hanna Mining Company in Keewatin, MN, which is now U.S. Steel. For many years, they operated a small office within the United Steelworkers Union Hall. In 2012, the credit union expanded from an employee-based to a community-based charter, and moved into their current location, a historic early 1900s brick building that originally housed Keewatin’s first bank.
Residents of Keewatin have supported the credit union throughout the years. CHECU Board Member Kathleen Bottoms explains, “When I got my first job, my Dad told me to open an account at the credit union. They gave me my first loan when I was in high school and my Dad had to co-sign. I bought a 1964 Plymouth, and took a loan for $1,950.”
“CHECU is excited to partner with SPIRE Credit Union,” said CHECU CEO Sally Baratto, “The partnership will provide enhanced services for our current and future membership, while maintaining the small town, friendly feeling. We are confident SPIRE will be an enduring presence in Keewatin and the surrounding area for years to come.”
“We are excited to serve the residents of Keewatin and the surrounding areas,” said SPIRE President/CEO Dan Stoltz, “We are eager to roll up our sleeves and begin work to honor this community and its 115-year history. Our partnership is a triple win: a win for our employees, a win for our communities, and most of all, a big win for our memberships.”