Benchmark Federal Credit Union celebrates new charter
● By Richard Gaw
In conjunction with its 75th anniversary, Benchmark Federal Credit Union was recently given the green light to expand its footprint in Chester County, and open up membership to anyone who lives, works, worships or attends school in the county.
On June 16 at its main branch on McDaniel Drive in West Chester, credit union officials and local dignitaries cut the ribbon on the credit union's new community charter.
Over the next two years, additional local branches will open throughout Chester County, including a branch in Kennett Square. Although a site for the Kennett Square Benchmark location has not yet been determined, credit union officials are working with a realtor to locate a potential site. Benchmark Marketing Director Rebecca Worthington said that credit union branches in southern Chester County will be staffed with bilingual personnel.
"Being a locally-grown credit union, we are focused on the financial well-being of the residents of just Chester County," Worthington said. "For those areas that are more under-served -- for instance, the Hispanic communities in southern Chester County -- we understand that many times when they walk into a bank, they don't get one-on-one, peronalized service. When they are with Benchmark, they'll be a part of our family."
Worthington said that as part of Benchmark's expansion, the credit union will be conducting several free financial outreach programs throughout Chester County that will be targeted to underserved populations, including seminars on how to read a credit report; how to build lines of credit; college financial planning; and how to use the electronic services of the Benchmark Federal Credit Union.
Benchmark began serving employees of John Wyeth & Brothers, Inc. in Philadelphia in 1940, which later became Wyeth Pharmaceuticals, then Pfizer, in 2009. Benchmark's Chester County membership is now in excess of 12,500.
"This is a milestone in our history," said David LaSala, President and CEO of Benchmark. "We have to be viable moving forward. The majority of our members live in Chester County, and we've been headquartered here for decdades. It just makes sense for us to expand more into new communities."
To contact Staff Writer Richard L. Gaw, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.