A community commitment | UCNA News

Mike Tucker worked alongside staff and board members to build eight Habitat for Humanity homes in the Parkersburg, W. Va. area, nailing siding, roofing and installing drywall.

“You wouldn’t want me to build your house, but I’m a really good helper,” says Tucker, CEO of West Virginia Central Federal Credit Union.

But he has done a great job of building a credit union and its surrounding communities through compassion, financial savvy, and an enthusiasm for people and the credit union movement.

Tucker, a 40-year credit union veteran, joined West Virginia Central Federal in 1994 as CEO. He took an employee-based credit union with 3,000 members and $19 million in assets and turned it into a federally chartered institution with 23,000 members and $295 million in assets.

“I’ve been truly blessed to get into something that I love,” Tucker says. “It’s a passion.”

Community outreach is a cornerstone of West Virginia Central Federal’s philosophy, and it will designate $325,000 to meet community needs in 2022, including a $200,000 donation to Discovery of the world in the marketa regional STEAM (science, technology, engineering, arts and mathematics) destination.

The growth of the credit union took place against a backdrop of economic difficulties. More than 65% of its members are low-income, but the credit union offers both dignity to members and products to meet their needs.

West Virginia Central Federal consistently has some of the lowest auto loan rates and highest savings rates of any financial institution in the area. The credit union recently refinanced a car loan with another institution, reducing the interest rate from 27% to 4.5%.

“We know our members want to be treated with compassion and understanding because it’s hard to come in and talk about your struggles,” says Tucker. “It’s easy to lend to people with 850 credit scores, but we want to serve all of our members.”

According to Tucker, low auto loan rates are possible due to the strong profitability and capitalization of the credit union.

Staff training allows the credit union to communicate more effectively with low-income members about their needs, Tucker says. “We see ourselves as professional problem solvers, and our job is to listen and learn.”

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