IMPERIAL — The First Imperial Credit Union ribbon cutting ceremony Thursday in Imperial marked the bank’s coming home to its birth place after a hiatus lasting several years.
“The First Imperial Credit Union was originally founded here in Imperial,” said Sergio Jimenez, branch manager. “This is where it all started years back. It was decided to close the branch here and open a branch in El Centro. But we needed to come back home.”
The credit union’s board of directors and employees, elected officials, businessmen and guests gathered outside the door entrance to witness the agency’s second homecoming. And enthusiasm was evident.
Branch manager Jimenez used oversized scissors to cut the ribbon even before the countdown. The red ribbon had to be tied with a knot so it could be snipped again after the countdown as congratulatory applause immediately followed.
Dulce Luna, 15, provided the entertainment with her rendition of popular songs for guests inside and outside of the branch office building.
Jimenez said he has been working with the bank for four years. He started in the Calexico branch and was recently promoted to this managerial position. “I’m really excited and thankful for the opportunity to manage this branch. It is a double blessing because I got promoted to manager and I get to have a new building,” he said.
The Imperial branch officially opened on December 19 of last year, but had its official ribbon cutting this month. The growth and development of Imperial was an incentive for FICU to move to its city of origin. With new buildings and houses going up in the area, the credit union believed residents and employees were potential candidates for bank memberships.
Fidel Gonzalez, President/CEO said, “We had the opportunity and saw this great location here on Worthington Square Plaza. This will be branch number four, plus a small satellite office at Imperial Valley College.”
The original site of the credit union bank was built 75 years ago August 21, 1942, and was located on Barioni, and mainly catered to the banking needs of employees of the Imperial Irrigation District. (Information as to when the original bank closed was not available as of press time.) The new branch, also located along a stretch of Barioni Blvd., is on the opposite side of town and west of Highway 86, and boasts a variety of banking services such as savings and checking accounts, certificate of deposits, IRAs, and auto loans. It also offers online and mobile banking, according to bank officials.
From start to finish, the new branch was completed within the remaining two quarters of 2016. Under the leadership of Temo de la Torre, executive vice president, the new branch was approved in April, broke ground with construction starting in July, and was completed in time for the Christmas season. The branch opened its doors to members Dec. 19. The new bank is on the ground floor of the complex Worthington Square on Barioni Blvd. and H Street.