Serving the community for 85 years

WFCU’s staff celebrated its 85th anniversary on Feb. 10, 2016.

Kids made quilts at one of Wakota Federal Credit Union’s monthly story times in 2015.

WFCU was named 2012 Small Business of the Year from the River Heights Chamber of Commerce.

In 1931, Wakota Federal Credit Union (WFCU) opened its doors as Armour Credit Union with the intention of providing “savings and thrift” to Armour Foods meatpacking plant employees and their families.

When Armour Foods closed, the not-for-profit credit union still served those members. In 1995, the credit union merged with South St. Paul Employee’s Credit Union and expanded its services to all of Dakota County, renaming itself Wakota Federal Credit Union by member vote in 1997.

Now, 85 years later the values that existed in 1931 still remain today.

“We can serve anyone who lives, works, worships, volunteers or attends school in Dakota County, and their family members,” Amanda Kissner, director of community affairs for the credit union, says.

“This is the place we choose to call home,” says Mary Matheson, president and CEO. “We work daily to invest in the growth and success of not only our members and this credit union, but our community as a whole.”

Matheson says WFCU prides itself on being a community development credit union (CDCU) by predominately serving people of modest means and being committed to serving its members as well as the economic and development needs of the broader community. Their recent focus has been to reach out to the Hispanic population in northern Dakota County to provide products and services relevant to them.

Helping people of modest means to save money has always been something WFCU has tried to do, Matheson says. 

“It goes back to our roots to increase thrift amongst Armour employees,” she says. 

Kissner says Wakota Federal Credit Union tries to be involved in the community in more than just meeting clients banking needs. One way is through credit union’s Food, Fitness and Finance program, which started in 2014. 

WFCU also does programs for kids, which include monthly Story Time open to 3 to 8-year-olds. The Story Times focus on a fantasy savings account, and make math and geometry fun for the children.

WFCU serves all of Dakota County with “big bank services” while still remaining local. Kissner says while Wakota wants to grow and stay competitive, it doesn’t want to lose the personal feeling the credit union has now.

“If you come in here and observe,” she says, “our tellers and financial service representatives know members by name; they know what’s going on in their lives.” 

WFCU offers loans, checking and saving accounts, mortgages, investments and certificates. A new initiative kicked off in 2016 — WINcentive Savings — is a program that gives prizes to members, ranging from $85 to $5,000, monthly, quarterly and annually. Members are entered every time they deposit $25 or more.

“We want to promote healthy savings habits while making the process fun and enjoyable,” says Patty Koran, director of finance.

Another service offered at WFCU is GreenPath Financial Wellness. This financial education and debt management program is free to members, who can receive assistance with money management, debt repayment, house counseling, avoiding bankruptcy, and personal and family budgeting. 

Kissner says it’s all about helping individual members and giving them the opportunity to succeed. 

While WFCU hopes to expand, Matheson says they don’t want to grow too fast.

“South St. Paul is where our roots are and we plan on keeping it in our community,” Matheson says. “Our success is owed to our loyal members, community, volunteers and dedicated staff. Without their collaboration and efforts, we would not be where we are today.”


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