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Branch Manager Matt Hall and member account reps Megan Rinzel and Charity Schaar, from left, confer at the branch office’s consultation desk. The office has a modern design and a self-service area equipped with iPads. (Hudson Star-Observer photos by Randy Hanson)

Royal Credit Union opens Hudson branch

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news River Falls, 54022
River Falls Wisconsin 2815 Prairie Drive / P.O. Box 25 54022

It took longer than anticipated –- and it’s in a different location than first planned –- but Royal Credit Union now has a Hudson branch.

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The full-service office opened April 7 in the 2,900-square-foot space at the corner of Carmichael and Hanley roads formerly occupied by Eagle Valley Bank.

“Hudson is just a great community, and we are really ecstatic to be here finally,” said Matt Hall, who was recruited from another Hudson financial institution to be the manager of the new RCU branch.

It’s the 25th office for the credit union headquartered in Eau Claire, where it was started 50 years ago to serve employees of a now-closed Uniroyal tire plant.

RCU purchased a site off Hanley Road at Hwy. 35 in the Heritage Greens subdivision a number of years ago. It was planning to build there, but then the 2009 recession hit and the construction was delayed.

When Eagle Valley Bank departed from Hudson, the credit union saw an opportunity to lease an office at a more central location.

Hall said RCU members who have been using the credit union’s River Falls, Somerset and New Richmond offices, but find it more convenient to do business in Hudson, are especially happy about the new office.

“We have members who have been waiting and waiting for us to open a branch here. It’s exciting,” Hall said.

And new people have been joining the credit union.

“We’re picking up (members) week after week,” Hall said. “We’ve had a lot of positive things going on here.”

As a full-service office, the Hudson branch offers all of the things you’d expect to find at a financial institution –- teller services, a drive-through with an automatic teller machine, consumer and business loans, home mortgages, investments and annuity products.

“We have a mortgage officer on site. We have a commercial loan officer on site, and a financial advisor,” Hall related.

David Hauser is the mortgage officer, Scott Jones, the commercial loan officer, and Monique Villeneuve sells the investment products, including stocks and bonds.

Jones lives in Hudson and was making contacts here while working out of the River Falls and New Richmond offices, Hall noted.

“We’ve been doing business in Hudson for quite a while. We just haven’t had a branch to support that,” he said. “So this was the next logical step for us.”

Three member account representatives –- Megan Hanson, Megan Rinzel and Charity Schaar –- complete the seven-person staff.

Hall acknowledges that Hudson may seem “over-banked,” but he believes there’s opportunity for a new player given Hudson’s growth.

Plus, credit unions are different from banks in that they are owned by the members, he said.

“Working for a credit union, you feel like you’re working for your members,” Hall said. “Not that you don’t feel the same working in a bank … but you’re also working for your stockholders. Here, our stockholders are our members. They own the credit union.”

He said the ownership is reflected in lower fees and higher interest on savings than are found at many financial institutions.

While RCU welcomes members of all ages, it is making a particular effort to appeal to the younger generation.

The office has a modern, open feel –- and the latest in banking technology.

“We’re trying to be as high-tech as possible,” said Hall.

There’s a self-service area equipped with iPads that members can use to access their accounts and do simple transactions.

Those with smart phones can use them to check balances and made deposits.

The automatic teller machine in the drive-through will accept checks and cash with no envelope and make instant deposits as well as dispense cash.

“So the ATM acts as its own teller, basically,” Hall explained.

“The younger generation is certainly going toward the technological side, the paperless side of doing their finances,” he said. “That is kind of a push for us, to be able to offer those products and services that they are asking for.”

The RCU lobby and drive-through window are open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday through Friday. The ATM and night deposit box are available 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

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