Del-One Federal Credit Union continues growth with a recent merger that adds two branches

February 1, 2014
 By Carol Kinsley

 

Dion Williams, who came to Del-One three years ago, has overseen several changes in the state’s second largest credit union since becoming President and CEO, including a name change in 2011 to Del-One Federal Credit Union. 

Williams, who has been in the credit union industry for more than 20 years, said, “Credit union is the only career I ever had. It was my summer job in college, and I hope to continue in it through retirement.”

Williams and his wife of 17 years, Susan, moved to Dover with their three daughters from Mississippi, where he had been President and CEO of another credit union.

The most recent change in the 50-year-old institution was a fourth-quarter 2013 merger with Seaford Federal Credit Union, which added two new branches to the statewide network, Seaford and Dagsboro. 

“We now have at least three branches in each county, including a student branch at Glasgow High School,” Williams said.

With the addition of Seaford Federal Credit Union, Del-One now has more than 40,000 members.

“The employees came along, too,” Williams said. “We are really excited that there was a situation where the employees had the option to come over. It was a great opportunity to expand our outreach in Sussex County.”

He continued, “That’s one thing that’s going on in the industry — consolidation. Regulatory and compliance burdens have really stretched credit unions, where the margins are already pretty tight. Smaller credit unions are seeking consolidation for economies of scale. That was the situation here.”

Williams explained some of the differences between a bank and a credit union. “The credit union is owned by members. If you’re a member, you’re an owner. You’re also an equal owner with all other members, no matter what your account balance.

“In contrast, a bank owner may or may not be a customer. A customer has no say in how a bank is run and operated in that regard. An owner may have one or thousands of shares, and the more shares, the bigger the voice.

“We don’t use the term ‘customer.’ We use ‘member’ with the credit union.”

“Del-One’s board of directors and supervisory committee serve without compensation. They give of their time freely because they believe in the mission of the credit union. In most cases, a bank board is compensated.”

Another difference is in profits. A credit union issues no stock and pays no income tax. As a cooperative, Williams explained, the credit union returns profits to the membership in the form of lower fees, better interest rates on deposits and better rates on loans.

“Your money is safe. The only difference is that bank insurance is the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) and credit unions fall under the National Credit Union Administration (NCUA). The dollar amounts insured are the same, but each has its own regulator. The deposits are just as safe.”

There have been more changes in branches. Members in the Wilmington area have a new, more permanent location at 901 North Market Street, a “very visible site in the downtown area,” Williams said. The New Castle branch is in the same location, but has been completely remodeled. It was gutted inside to allow for new offices and an additional drive-through lane was added. “These changes are to reinforce to our members that we are as committed to the branch network as ever.”

A new checking option was recently added that offers higher interest on deposits. Better Life Checking accounts currently pay 2 percent APY on balances up to $25,000 when statements are delivered electronically, there are 10 debit card swipes per month and the member has direct deposit or an active loan with Del-One.

Del-One also offers 24/7 access through online banking, mobile banking and telephone banking. Midyear in 2013, Del-One’s call center began offering round-the-clock access to a live human being, in addition to being able to transfer funds, pay bills or check balances by phone. 

Interviewed in the middle of a snow storm, Williams said, “On a day like today, or during a weather event like Hurricane Sandy, this service is another opportunity to give access to the credit union. We feel like we’ve covered our bases.”

In addition, a mobile app is available for Android, iPhone and iPad which makes it possible to take a photo of a check and send it to make a deposit without getting on the highway.

Another greatly successful change has been Shared Branching, an agreement that enables members to make deposits, cash checks or make loan payments at any of more than 4,000 participating credit union locations throughout the country. 

Williams noted that Del-One has seen about twice as many members from other credit unions utilizing Del-One branches versus Del-One members using Shared Branching through other credit unions. The Shared Branching network highlights the cooperative spirit of credit unions. 

In the wake of the data breaches over the holidays with Target stores, Del-One members appreciated one service that hasn’t changed: instant issue debit cards. “If yours is lost or stolen, or you’re a new member, you get a new card on the spot and select your PIN number,” Williams said.

For more information on Del-One Federal Credit Union, visit www.del-one.org, or call 302-739-4496.

Back to Archives