It All Started With an ATM
Concho Springs Federal Credit Union began from the idea of needing an ATM in the Concho community. There seemed to be no real place to residents and travelers to access cash or banking needs except to drive more than 10 miles to the nearest bank. It is hard for a community to thrive when access to money is out of reach for those with limited or no transportation.
In 2014, a movement was started to bring a credit union to the community. A Preliminary approval to start the process was granted, but the movement was slow. When the person organizing the credit union left for a year and a half, no progress was made.
In 2019 that changed, and with a new drive and spirit, we are on our way to reality.
Why A Credit Union Is Important to Our Communities
Rural America is one of the greatest treasures in our nation. Our open lands, wide skies, and being out of the hustle and bustle of urban and suburban life comes with its rewards and challenges. One of these challenges is access to services like medical, shopping, and of course, banking.
In the 19th century, Concho was a small bustling little town. So much so, it was actually proposed as one of the locations for the new capital of Arizona due to its rich agricultural lands and its start of a commercial hub in Northern Arizona. However, this died down over the decades and centuries, until the community fell into a sleepy side town that was almost forgotten.
In the 1970s through 1990s, Concho Valley was created just south of what we now call Old Concho. This Master Planned Community featured lots and lots of residential home sites, but very little commercial activity. In fact, there are less than 20 parcels in the entire Concho Valley area that can be used for activity other than residential. This presents a challenge to new business and employment opportunities in the area.
In 2014, a movement was started to open a credit union in Concho. This movement collected many surveys, but lacked interest from members. This is not without justification though; many dreams have been born and died here, and we refused to be one of those. In 2017-2018, the movement took a small hiatus, but was back in early 2019 and ready to move forward.
Having a local banking facility means more than just new jobs; it means resident have access to their money faster; it means local businesses don’t have to travel outside our community to handle their transactions; it means there is a local source for loans that can be used to buy cars, homes, and more. Having a credit union won’t change Concho, but it will certainly open the door to new opportunities.
Concho is not the only focus. The credit union can operate branches in such places like Vernon, Greer, Springerville, St Johns, Eastern Taylor/Snowflake, Eastern Holbrook, Sanders, and even Sun Valley/Petrified Forest area.
While the road ahead is still to be travelled, we are excited at this opportunity and what positive differences we can make in our communities.