CLINTON — Construction on a second branch of DHCU credit union has extended longer than originally expected, but one benefit of its delay is what the company has in store for its opening. 

In an effort to remove any misconceptions or confusion surrounding the former Deere Harvester Credit Union, President and CEO Matt McCombs said the company is launching a company-wide rebranding campaign and introducing Vibrant Credit Union.

It is important, said McCombs, that DHCU members not fear a change in service or a merger with a different company, and explained the only change people will see is the name.

“We realized that in the financial industry, often when a name change occurs that means an acquisition is being made,” McCombs said. “The credit union is not being purchased or merged. The Board of Directors is the same, the employees are the same; this is simply just a name change, the structure will stay the same.”

DHCU began business in 1935 as Deere Harvester Credit Union, a financial establishment developed by and designated to serving only John Deere Harvester Works employees. The theory, explained McCombs, was that financial services could be provided for members, by members.

From there, DHCU continued to expand from only serving the harvester plant of John Deere to other divisions of the company, eventually making the credit union open to all John Deere employees and their family members.

In the early 1990s, as the company began to see a growing momentum in the credit union industry, it was decided Deere Harvester would no longer only provide service to John Deere employees, and began a community charter for the company.

Since then, McCombs said the company has faced questions about its availability to the general public, because of the continued connotation with the DHCU name. Being a company built on membership support, McCombs said there was much discussion on how it could remove the confusion and make sure to serve as wide a community as possible.

“As we’ve continued to grow and continue to serve the communities that we’re chartered for, the focus is still on our Deere heritage but still the overall community.,” McCombs said. “We noticed that there was some confusion around that; still a lot of individuals in our market that believed you had to be tied to John Deere in some way. We started a little over a year ago doing a lot of back-end research to see how much of that Deere Harvester connotation was still around. That research eventually led to the name change.”

As the campaign gets underway, with an official roll-out date of May 4, local billboards, signs and commercial marketing will be the heaviest efforts to get the Vibrant name out there.

In addition to the marketing efforts, Clinton’s first DHCU branch will undergo the name change, and the new location will be the first, brand-new branch of Vibrant — a name McCombs says completely embodies the company, its employees and the communities it serves.

“We see high levels of engagement, we have a very fun and unique culture and we have folks that are happy and here to provide an experience that’s second to none. Our people are our biggest asset,” McCombs said. “Our culture is vibrant; our people are vibrant. No matter what other names we thought of, when we looked at what best describes us, that word vibrant kept coming up. We couldn’t help but get down to always looking at that.”

When the day finally comes to unravel the new campaign, and the company’s June deadline to begin business in the new facility approaches, McCombs said it won’t be done quietly.

“We want folks to give us a chance and come in and see what banking can be,” McCombs said. “This (April) is the month that we go through getting the last steps in place. What that means is come May, you’re just going to see us even more loud in the market place, us telling our story.”

Clinton Herald Staff Writer Amy Kent can be contacted at amykent@clintonherald.com.

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