Wausau Driver and Review
Editor’s note: Business of the week is a sponsored feature that shares the stories of locally owned and operated businesses in the Wausau area, highlighting the products and services they offer and how they contribute to the unique flavor of the metro area. Learn how to pitch your business by emailing [email protected].
The featured business in the Wausau area this week is Connexus Credit Union, which currently has 14 branches open to the public, including 10 in Wisconsin. Jennifer Eberhardy, content strategist and editor at Connexus, said the company is delighted to announce its investment in an innovative new Connexus branch in Rib Mountain, at the intersection of North Mountain Road and Hummingbird Lane. Scheduled to break ground in September and open next summer, this iconic branch will feature modern amenities including digital self-service stations to limit wait times and maximize efficiency; a spacious and comfortable waiting room by the fireplace; a comprehensive solution center for member services; and more. The outside will be feature a modern Northwoods architectural style to complement the backdrop of Granite Peak and a five-way drive-thru with ATM for 24/7 member and community convenience.
While some credit unions have strict eligibility criteria, Connexus membership is open to individuals who donate $5 to the Connexus Association, which will be used for charitable donations. Applying online is also quick and easy and only takes a few minutes. Here, Jennifer talks about the organization’s commitment to making a difference in the community, what makes Connexus unique, and what makes Wausau such a great place to do business.
Give me a brief history of Connexus Credit Union – when did it all start?
Connexus believes in making a difference in the lives of our members and the communities we serve – a commitment we have taken to heart since day one. Founded in 1935 as Employers’ Mutual Credit Union, Connexus began with a simple mission that was fairly new at the time: to provide residents with a member-owned alternative to corporate banking.
In 1975, we celebrated our 40th anniversary with over $10 million in assets and eclipsed $3 billion in assets in 2020. Today, under the leadership of Boyd Gustke, President and CEO, Connexus has grown to more than $4.9 billion in assets and nearly 650 employees serving more than 430,000 members in all 50 states. Over the years, Connexus has undergone two brand changes and completed nine successful mergers while honoring our unwavering commitment to the credit union philosophy of “people helping people”.
Unlike for-profit banks which are owned or publicly traded by a group of individuals or shareholders, credit unions are not-for-profit organizations owned and managed by their members. Because banks are in business to make a profit, they generally charge more fees and offer less competitive rates. But credit unions focus more on the profitability of their members and therefore return excess funds to members in the form of higher dividends, competitive rates on loans, improved services and innovative and diversified products. From its beginnings until today, Connexus has always been committed to fostering the prosperity of its member-owners across the country.
What is your organization’s mission and what sets Connexus apart from other financial institutions in the region?
In June 2021, we shared our new vision – an evolution of our previous mission statement and a carefully revamped plan for future growth and success. Our vision is to be a nationally relevant and trusted credit union, delivering exceptional experiences and driving prosperity for those we serve.
What sets us apart from other financial institutions is that our strategic vision is not just words on a page. Underscored by our values, our vision is at the heart of everything we do. It guides the actions of the organization and of everyone within it. We demonstrate our commitment to our vision and values in every personal interaction, phone call and email – every day.
What types of financial products do you offer and what do you specialize in?
Connexus is proud to return benefits to member-owners through high yields on checking accounts and deposit products, as well as competitive rates on personal, home and auto loans. Members benefit from a multi-channel service model that includes a robust digital banking platform and highly rated Connexus app that is available 24/7, a fully staffed Member Contact Center and trained, a shared branch, online chat support, and branches in Wisconsin, Minnesota, and Illinois.
One area where we really shine is our member service. At Connexus, we believe in provide a service that is not seen as merely positive, but stands out as truly exceptional. Through our collaboration with leading business partners and our values-driven daily interactions with members and employees, we work tirelessly to create journeys that are as easy and fulfilling as their results.
How does your credit union support the communities it serves? Tell us about these efforts and why they matter to you.
If you ask our members to choose the principle of our strategic vision that resonates the most, they would do will likely choose our commitment to fostering prosperity. That’s because Connexus is known for helping its members achieve their individual financial aspirations by offering high deposit returns, low lending rates, lower fees, as well as generously giving back to the communities we serve through of our philanthropic program, Connexus Cares.
Connexus Cares drives prosperity by giving with purpose to organizations that meet basic humanitarian needs like food, shelter, and crisis services, as well as those that advocate for at-risk youth, seniors, and veterans. For 16 years, we were honored to be the sole presenting sponsor of the Relay For Life event in Wausau, Wisconsin to raise funds and support the mission of the American Cancer Society®. In 2021, we made history with our largest single donation to date, $1 million to Community Partners Campus, and our most generous annual donation total of over $2.5 million. We’re on track to reach even more ambitious giving goals in 2022 by enabling our employees to support the organizations they love using paid, company-sponsored Volunteer Time Off (VTO) hours.
You recently completed a merger with another credit union. Tell us about that.
On August 1, we officially completed our merger with DeForest-based Heritage Credit Union (HCU), a partnership that has brought growth and value to both organizations and made us stronger together. We were proud to offer a role on the Connexus team to every HCU employee, and the synergy that we found between existing employees and new employees speaks to the alignment of the culture and values of the two organizations.
The best measure of a merger’s success, however, is the value it brings to members. We are delighted with the positive feedback we heard from members about the many benefits they already value Connexus, including our highly rated Connexus app and robust digital banking platform, extensive call center hours and offerings, and competitive, nationally recognized products and services .
What makes Wausau a good place to do business?
For the past 87 years, Connexus has been proud to play a part in Wausau’s rich 150-year history. Overtime, we’ve seen the city solve problems through innovation and resilience without losing sight of its thoughtful, forward-thinking plans for future growth. Connexus shares the same passion for dreaming big, innovating and planning strategically, and our commitment to the prosperity of our member-owners is much like Wausau’s commitment to improving the quality of life of its residents. We are proud to be a valued resident of the Highway 51/29 Corridor as it continues to grow and look forward to giving back to residents and partnering with local businesses to support the economy and overall growth. from the city.