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  6.  | Credit Union 1 Expanding with Kotzebue Branch

Credit Union 1 Expanding with Kotzebue Branch

Jul 10, 2024 | Finance, News

A rendering of the Credit Union 1 branch being built in Kotzebue. The new store will be within the new Alaska Commercial Company store being built.

Photo Credit: Credit Union 1

As far as Credit Union 1 (CU1) has been able to find, no other financial cooperative has a branch north of the Arctic Circle. Sure, Wells Fargo operates a for-profit bank in Utqiaġvik (established by National Bank of Alaska) and Kotzebue, but state or federally chartered credit unions are absent from that part of the globe.

CU1 expects to change that fact before 2024 is over, announcing plans to open a branch in Kotzebue.

Lucky Fourteen

The Kotzebue branch would be the fourteenth for CU1, after the thirteenth under construction in Wasilla, also set to open this year.

“This is a big year for CU1, but not only from a location expansion standpoint,” says Kerry Youngren, CU1’s vice president of marketing and communications. “We’ve also added new member benefits like free access to Greenlight, a debit card and money app for kids and teens, and we are launching a small-dollar loan program this month that will offer members a safety net, helping them to avoid the pitfalls of high-cost, short-term borrowing.”

Like many rural Alaska communities, Kotzebue has limited financial service options and access. Wells Fargo is the only institution with a physical location there.

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July 2024

“As a hub for much of Northwest Alaska, the branch will enable Alaskans in nearby villages to access financial services that may not have been available to them before,” says CU1 President and CEO Mark Burgess. “We can’t wait to meet many new people and make new friends, but most importantly, earn the trust of the people of Kotzebue and become a positive member of the community.”

The Kotzebue branch will be located inside a new Alaska Commercial Company store being built in the heart of town. CU1 says its expansion would not be possible without community partners, including the statewide retailer.

Burgess adds, “We couldn’t be more thrilled to be able to offer our services in a new community like Kotzebue.”

A rendering of the Credit Union 1 branch in Kotzebue expected to open in late 2024.

Photo Credit: Credit Union 1

In addition to new branch locations in Wasilla and Kotzebue, CU1 is installing an interactive teller machine at the UAA Student Union. The upgrade adds a video-based version of in-person banking to the usual functions of an ATM.

Formed in 1952 as Anchorage Teachers Federal Credit Union and enlarged through a series of mergers, CU1 operates a dozen branches from Ketchikan to Nome as the only state-chartered credit union in Alaska.

Alaska Business Magazine July 2024 cover
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Best of Alaska Business 2024
July 2024
Welcome to the 2024 Best of Alaska Business special section! For the ninth time we invited our readers to tell us which Alaska businesses they love the most, this year in forty-four categories. Throughout the month of March, you told us who should be featured in these pages, and we're thrilled to be able to publish the results.
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