SECU Returns Back to Original NC Credit Union Roots with New Durham Lowe’s Grove Branch Site

Leigh Brady, Senior Vice President
Education Services, SECU
919-807-8344, fax: 919-807-8348

Raleigh, NC, June 4 – Today marks an important milestone in the history of State Employees’ Credit Union.  It’s the Credit Union’s 75th anniversary!  In conjunction with this milestone, the cooperative is celebrating with a ribbon cutting at SECU’s new Lowe’s Grove branch, built on the site of the first rural credit union in North Carolina.  Today’s ribbon cutting ceremony and Open House pays homage to the Lowe’s Grove community’s rich history and landmark site of the “first cooperative credit union, operating under legislative sanction, established in the South” on January 20, 1916.  SECU representatives, as well as volunteer Board of Directors and local Advisory Board members were on hand to commemorate not only SECU’s anniversary, but also the significance of the Lowe’s Grove location to North Carolina’s credit union movement.

Durham banker John Sprunt Hill was commissioned by President Woodrow Wilson in 1913 to study rural credit systems in Europe and “find ways of lending money so that an ordinary person could borrow without being cheated.”  A bill was passed by NC State lawmakers authorizing the charter of Lowe’s Grove Credit Union in 1915.  With the assistance of Lowe’s Grove school, local bankers, and the NC Department of Agriculture, Hill brought the cooperative concept to the forefront and organized the Lowe’s Grove Rural Credit Union to help improve the area’s agricultural economy and community life of farm families in rural North Carolina.  Through the joint efforts of SECU and the Lowe’s Grove Highway Historical Marker Committee, a NC Highway Historical Marker dedicated on December 12, 1999, currently identifies the credit union site.

State Employees’ Credit Union was founded in 1937 with 17 members and $437 in deposits.  The not-for-profit financial cooperative was formed as a low-cost alternative for State employees who were being taken advantage of in the financial marketplace. It was operated on a part-time basis from the basement of the Agriculture Building in Raleigh.  Today, SECU serves over 1.7 million members in all 100 North Carolina counties with close to $25 billion in assets through its 242 branches and 1,100 ATMs throughout the State.

Surrounded by the Research Triangle Park community, SECU’s new Durham Lowe’s Grove 7,800 square foot facility provides a wide range of financial services.  In addition to the expansive layout, the branch features three drive-thru lanes and a drive-up ATM for quick, convenient service.  

SECU Lowe’s Grove branch Advisory Board member Juanita Anyane-Ntow comments, “It is very exciting to see the branch built upon this historical site.  While this branch is a newly constructed building, the significance of what is represented from the past makes this location very special.”

McKinley Wooten, Chairman of SECU’s Board of Directors adds, “Celebrating SECU’s 75th anniversary in conjunction with the new Lowe’s Grove branch Open House marks a momentous occasion for SECU.  We are extremely honored to be part of preserving the area’s historical value and landmark site.  The new branch site symbolizes the vision of John Sprunt Hill and the Lowe’s Grove agricultural community in the early 1900’s — creating relationships, progress and financial success through the credit union cooperative spirit.”

About SECU
SECU is a not-for-profit financial cooperative owned by its members.  SECU has been providing the employees of the State of North Carolina and their families with consumer financial services for 75 years.  Currently serving over 1.7 million members, SECU provides services through 242 branch offices, nearly 1,100 ATMs, 24/7 Contact Centers and a website,

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