Banking on Community in the Market Common

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by Ashley Daniels

You work hard for your money. And that’s why you want to entrust it with a local institution that has your best financial interest in mind, like Santee Cooper Credit Union (SCCU), which has a branch right along Farrow Parkway in the Market Common.

“We pride ourselves on being all about the community,” says Michelle Jones, manager of marketing and HR. “People helping people and giving back. If you come into the branch, we will call you by your name, and ask about your family. We want you to know that we care about you; we want you to be part of our credit union family.”

SCCU dates back to 1953, when ten members joined together to form the credit union by contributing $50 each to serve employees of the South Carolina Public Service Authority. Today, since that charter was founded sixty-five years ago, membership has expanded to anyone that lives, works or attends school in Berkeley or Horry counties. 

SCCU membership continues to grow its 7,300 members. But no matter the growth, SCCU is committed to maintaining its philosophy of “people helping people.”

Jones, who works out of the Moncks Corner branch, says SCCU offers all of the usual banking services (checking and savings accounts, loans and credit cards, mobile and online), but also the unique offerings of a credit union, with an all-volunteer board of directors who are also members of SCCU.

“We also try to keep our fee structure lower, as well as offer better loan rates to members,” says Jones. “Because we are a not-for-profit organization, we can give back to the membership through dividends paid out through our deposit accounts as well as offering lower loan rates.”

Special services at SCCU also include a Christmas Club account, which encourages members to save for next year’s Christmas shopping.

“We’re encouraging members to set up this savings account to have funds automatically deducted from their paycheck to set aside for next year,” says Jones. “Our philosophy is that if it’s automatically coming out, it’s not something you have to do on your own or worry about.”

There’s also a Young Savers account to help instill good habits in members eighteen years of age or younger. SCCU actually deposits the first $5 to open the account for these young members, to help jumpstart years of deposits in the future.

“We think it’s important to learn at a young age the importance of setting money aside and having goals,” says Jones.

She says that’s one of the ways SCCU tries to give back to the community: reaching out to schools to talk to students about the ins and outs of finances and helping them down the right path as much as they can. They also sponsor an annual college scholarship and donate to community kitchens over the holiday season.

Another way SCCU is maintaining its mission of “people helping people” is the rollout of upgraded mobile banking features, like Bill Pay and a remote deposit capture, in 2020. 

Santee Cooper Credit Union

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