University Credit Union grows, very active in WK community

By Jose Cassola….

Michael J. Welch Sr.

Jim Ketzle of Kendall has been banking with University Credit Union for nearly 30 years.

“I’ve always received great service. I see no reason why I should go anywhere else,” said Ketzle, 70, a retired controller with Florida International University. “I’ve done just about every sort of business with them, from home equity loans to car loans. I have no intention of ever moving my money to a commercial bank.”

Ketzle is one of 22,500 members University Credit Union serves across eight branches throughout Miami-Dade County. The main branch is the West Kendall Support Center at 13241 SW 136 St. The seven other branches are located on or near university campuses, including the University of Miami, FIU and St. Thomas University, and the Miami-Dade County Court House.

First established in 1947, University Credit Union originally only served UM’s faculty, staff and alumni. In 1982, membership expanded to include FIU faculty and staff and then again in 1988 to include St. Thomas. All students at all participating universities became eligible to be credit union members in 1999.

In 2005, University Credit Union merged with the Lawyers Credit Union and began service to the legal communities of Miami-Dade, Broward, Palm Beach and Monroe counties. Then in 2008, University Credit Union opened membership to all residents and employees of Miami-Dade County.

“University Credit Union has certainly come a long way,” said president and CEO Michael J. Welch Sr., a 38-year veteran of the financial institutions industry. “And we intend to stay around for several more years to offer our members world class member service.”

Welch started running University Credit Union in 1998. Prior to that, he was president and CEO of Parda Federal Credit Union in Rochester Hills, MI, for two years and spent 21 years with First Merit Bank in Cleveland, OH.

Welch is currently the chair-elect of the West Kendall Business Association. He also is a member of Chamber South, Coral Gables Chamber of Commerce and is involved in several other credit union boards and societies.

Julie Rico, owner of Rainbow Reproductions and a member of the WKBA, opened her account with University Credit Union about a year ago. She said the credit union has been a big sponsor of the WKBA.

“I’ve gotten to know many of the staff through various functions with the association,” Rico said. “When you get to know people, you generally will do business with them. I have always been impressed with how friendly the staff is and how they bend over backwards to help you and work with you.”

Welch said that is what University Credit Union is all about.

“We are your hometown credit union,” Welch said. “We want to be the hometown financial institution in all the markets we serve.”

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