The roots of Superior Credit Union can be traced back to the Superior Coach Corporation. Superior Coach dates back to 1915, when The Garford Motor Truck Company of Elyria, Ohio, transferred its production operations to Lima, Ohio. In 1925, The Superior Motor Coach Body Company introduced its first line of hearse and ambulance bodies. These professional cars were originally built on the Studebaker chassis. By 1936, the company had expanded to include hearse models on a Pontiac chassis. The first Superior Cadillac coaches were produced in 1938. The company's name was changed to the Superior Coach Corporation in 1940.
In October of 1954, 20 employees of the Superior Coach Corporation signed a charter creating the Superior Coach Employees Federal Credit Union. The first office for the credit union was located in the Superior Coach plant on East Kibby Street in Lima. At the first meeting of the Board of Directors, held on December 1, 1954, Woodrow Allen was elected President and Fritz Edmistan was elected Treasurer.
In 1972, Superior Coach Employees Federal Credit Union moved from its location inside the plant to a house purchased across the street at 655 S. Collins. The Sheller-Globe Corporation, of Toledo, had purchased the Superior Coach Corporation in 1969. By 1980, Sheller-Globe liquidated its Superior-related holdings despite being one of the "Big Six" school bus body manufacturing companies in the United States. Over-capacity among school bus manufacturers and the loss of ambulance business in the professional car sector were the chief reasons for the liquidation.
Upon the closing of Superior Coach Corporation in 1981, the credit union had about 2,500 members and $4.5 million in assets. Directors lobbied the National Credit Union Administration (NCUA) and obtained a community charter – the first community charter granted in the United States to a city with more than 50,000 residents. At that time, community charters had only been granted to communities of 25,000 or less. The treasurer of the Board at that time, Bruce Campbell, successfully lobbied and received letters of support from the 40 local businesses that the NCUA required. Helping their cause was the closing of another local company, Clark Equipment Company, and its employee credit union, Circle Diamond Credit Union (with 1,000 members and $1 million in assets). This credit union merged with Superior Coach Employees Credit Union to form a community-chartered credit union, Lima Superior Community Federal Credit Union. The new credit union’s field of membership had been extended to all residents of Lima.
In 1981, St. Rita’s Medical Center – and Lima Memorial Hospital in 1982 - agreed to allow employees to have payroll deductions to the credit union. In 1984, the Local 908 Teamsters Credit Union, with no one to continue managing it, merged with Lima Superior.
In 1985, Randall Graphite FCU and Duff FCU merged with Lima Superior. Also in 1985, the current office on Kibby Street was built at a cost of $425,000 and credit union operations were moved there from the house on South Collins Street. In late 1985, employees of the Metokote Corporation became a sponsor of the credit union, allowing employees to have payroll deductions to Lima Superior. In November 1985, the credit union improved the speed of the loan approval process by having the credit union’s employee loan officers begin making loan decisions. Prior to then, all loan decisions had been made by the three-person volunteer Credit Committee.
Procter & Gamble employees were added to the growing field of membership in 1988. In 1989, B&O Railroad Employees FCU merged with Lima Superior. Employees of Lost Creek Care Center joined the field of membership later in the year.
In the 1990s, Allen County townships began to be added to the field of membership, one by one. American, Bath, and Perry Townships were added in 1990, Shawnee Township in 1991, and the remaining townships – Amanda, Auglaize, Jackson, Monroe, Richland, Spencer and Sugarcreek – in 1994.
In 1991, Lima Superior opened their second branch, 1571 Allentown Road, in an old McDonald’s restaurant building. Employees still affectionately refer to the Allentown Road office as the “McBranch”.
Superior Forge & Steel and Plus Health Care employees were added to the field of membership in 1993. Also in 1993, Lima Superior placed their first “offsite” ATM in the lobby of St. Rita’s Medical Center.
Lima Superior’s third office, a drive-thru only located on North West Street, was opened in 1994. This purchase was made possible by the merger of Diamond Savings & Loan of Lima with the Bank One corporation. Habion FCU, which served the employees of Trim Trends, Inc., merged with Lima Superior in 1995.
As Lima Superior continued to expand, they opened a Shawnee office, located off Shawnee Road in the Shawnee Business Park, in May of 1996. The year 1999 brought a second county, Auglaize, into the Lima Superior field of membership. A branch in Wapakoneta, located downtown across from the Courthouse, was opened soon thereafter.
The year 1999 also marked the grand opening of The Mortgage Center at Superior, which has since grown to become the largest mortgage lender in Allen, Auglaize, Putnam, and Hardin Counties. The credit union currently services just under $1 billion in mortgage loans.
The largest change to Superior was the retirement of the first (and only) CEO/President, Bruce Campbell, in May 2003. Bruce had been treasurer of the credit union Board from 1974 until the plant closing in 1981, and was the single most important figure in Superior requesting and being granted a community charter. Phil Buell, CEO of Midwest Community Federal Credit Union in Defiance, Ohio, was selected to replace Bruce.
Even as leadership of the credit union changed hands, one thing remained constant: growth. On January 1, 2004, four counties – Hardin, Mercer, Putnam, and Van Wert – were added to the field of membership and the name of the credit union was changed to Superior Credit Union.
In early 2005, the credit union opened The Small Business Center at Superior. In just a few short years, the credit union has amassed more than $40 million in small business loans to members.
In April of 2005, Superior opened an office in Delphos. This was followed by the opening of a new branch office and corporate headquarters at 4230 Elida Road in Lima in June 2006. On July 1st of the same year, a merger with the former Member 1 Credit Union was completed. Member 1 CU had previously served the employees of the Lima Ford Engine Plant, Allen Correctional Institution, Oakwood Correctional Facility, Huffy Bicycle in Celina, Ohio, and HCF, Inc.
In early 2007, a major renovation to the former Member 1 office, located at 3345 N. West Street, was completed. Later in 2007, a nearly half million dollar expansion to the Wapakoneta office was completed. In January of 2008, Superior opened their ninth location, 1381 N. Perry Street in Ottawa. Later that year, in November, Superior completed a merger with the former North Star Federal Credit Union. North Star was a community-chartered credit union but was initially chartered to serve the employees of the Cities of Lima & Delphos and Allen County. North Star was also the credit union for the employees of local companies like Chef Solutions, Toledo Molding & Die, Central Soya, Krendl Machine, and Aero Printing.
In May of 2012, Superior completed a merger with the former UTELCO Credit Union. UTELCO was a SEG-based credit union chartered to serve the employees of Lima Telephone Company (now CenturyLink). In November 2012, Superior opened its tenth location in the Shoppes at St. Mary’s.
In October of 2014, Superior finished construction of a new full-service office in Kenton. In addition to our own expansion into Hardin County, Superior partnered with Lima Memorial Health System to bring additional health care solutions to the area. Lima Memorial opened its Kenton Medical Center in the same building as the credit union’s new office.
Conversion to State Charter and Entry into Major Metro Areas
In late 2015, Superior received approval to convert from a federal charter to a state charter. Following the affirmative membership vote earlier that year, the Ohio Department of Financial Institutions officially granted a state charter to Superior Federal Credit Union, now known as Superior Credit Union, Inc. Shortly after the charter conversion, Superior received approval to expand its Field of Membership. Superior can now accept new members who live, work, worship, or attend school in many Western Ohio counties.
Following the charter conversion, Superior began a series of credit union mergers that have helped it expand its service area. The first merger, with Southeast Financial Credit Union (2015), added offices in Tiffin and Fostoria. A merger with First Choice Credit Union (2017) in Coldwater expanded the credit union's ability to serve members in Mercer County and surrounding counties. A merger with CINCO Family Financial Center Credit Union (2017) in Cincinnati added two offices and was Superior's first forray into a major metropolitan area. Further expanding its services in the greater Cincinnati area, a merger with Classic Federal Credit Union (2018) added branches in Amelia, Mt. Orab, and a student branch located at West Clermont HS.
In 2017 we broke ground on a new full service office in Coldwater, which opened in 2018. The most recent merger with Co-Op Toledo Credit Union (2018) brought Superior into the Toledo market. Superior then merged in Great Lakes Credit Union (2019) to add two more branches in Sylvania and Perrysburg. In Fall 2019, Superior finalized the purchase of United Fidelity’s Clifton branch. This new branch adds a third location for us in Cincinnati.
Par Value Lowered to $5
To become more open to new members as well as bring our par value in line with what is becoming the industry-standard,the Superior Credit Union Board of Directors voted to reduce the par value of its membership share from $25 to $5. This change became effective May 1, 2018.
Par value is the minimum amount required to be a Superior Credit Union member-owner. Credit unions are required to set a par value for a share in the credit union. To maintain credit union membership you must keep a balance in your primary share account that is greater than or equal to the par value of a share. When you join a credit union, you’re not just opening an account at a financial institution. You are becoming a partial owner of a financial cooperative.
Unlike like for-profit banks, everyone who has an account at the credit union owns a share of the credit union. It doesn’t matter whether you have a balance of $5, $500, or $500,000, you own one share of the credit union. This unique structure means that credit unions work for the benefit of its members, who are also its owners.. That’s why many credit unions charge lower fees and pay higher interest than traditional banks do.
Superior Tops $1 Billion in Assets
On September 13, Superior achieved an impressive milestone in its history, reaching an asset size of $1 billion. With 22 branches throughout Western Ohio and 95,000 members, Superior’s growth has been on record pace in recent years. Superior is now the 5th largest credit union in the state of Ohio.
Phil Buell, CEO, says, “A lot of work has gone into getting Superior to this point. We have a great team of employees and volunteers who make it happen every day. Thank you to all of our members for making Superior a ‘Best in Class’ credit union. Our growth and success is truly a team effort.” We can't wait to see what happens next!