After about 3 ½ months of uncertainty, Richmond City Employees Federal Credit Union’s members learned they’ll be served by a much larger peer in southwestern Ohio, and will be connected with thousands of similar institutions.

RCEFCU’s merger with Kemba Credit Union took effect April 1.

Kemba stands for Kroger Employees Mutual Benefit Association. The RCEFCU office is being rebranded as Kemba Credit Union. 

After silence about RCEFCU’s future since National Credit Union Administration began operating it in December, NCUA announced the change April 3 in a national news release.

“The NCUA worked to address issues affecting the credit union’s safety and soundness and determined that merging Richmond City Employees Federal Credit Union into Kemba Credit Union was in the best interests of the members,” the release said.

Federal officials didn’t have to go too far to find an institution willing to serve RCEFCU members. Kemba’s headquarters is in West Chester, Ohio, about 18 miles north of Cincinnati.  

Kemba brings extensive history, assets and membership to the merger.

Decades before it became one of the world’s largest retailers, the Kroger Co. became interested in starting a credit union for its Cincinnati workers.

In 1934, seven employees of a Kroger manufacturing plant met in the cafeteria to organize Kemba Credit Union, serving colleagues in the factory and packinghouse.

And just like Kroger, Kemba has grown. Prior to the merger with RCEFCU, Kemba served 125,555 members and had assets of $1.6 billion, according to the credit union’s most recent Call Report.

Kemba’s new local members should experience no interruption in services, the release said, and member deposits remain protected by the National Credit Union Share Insurance Fund.

RCEFCU members may continue to conduct transactions through visits or phone calls to the credit union at Richmond Municipal Building, 50 N. Fifth St.

Cindy Burns will continue to serve that office, according to a letter that RCEFCU shared via email and social media with its members from Kemba President/CEO Dan Sutton.

All Kemba products, services and office locations will be available to Richmond customers in the next few months, Sutton said, and more information will be shared in the coming weeks.

Beyond its West Chester headquarters, Kemba has locations in downtown Cincinnati and surrounding communities in southern Ohio and northern Kentucky.

Kemba also is part of a shared branching network that has more than 5,000 compatible branches and more than 2,000 self-service locations in all 50 states. According to a website, 3Rivers branches in Richmond, Hagerstown and Liberty are part of that network.

RCEFCU’s Facebook page says that Kemba offers several benefits such as checking and savings accounts, credit cards, loans, online and mobile banking and home loans.

Staff said that current Kemba members should be able to use the Richmond branch after a full data conversion, which should be complete around June 1.  

Those changes were prompted after NCUA placed RCEFCU into conservatorship on Dec. 12 “because of unsafe and unsound practices,” according to a news release.

NCUA officials said they assumed control of the credit union to protect members’ assets while working to maintain safe-and-sound credit union operations.

At the time of the merger, RCEFCU was a federally chartered credit union with 788 members and assets of $6.97 million, according to the credit union’s most recent Call Report.

RCEFCU opened in 1961. It serves various employee groups, including City of Richmond (except for Richmond Power & Light), Richmond’s Housing Authority, Morrisson-Reeves Library and General Telephone Co.

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A version of this article appeared in the April 12 2023 print edition of the Western Wayne News.

Millicent Martin Emery is a reporter and editor for the Western Wayne News.