FOGCE Federal Credit Union holds Annual Meeting

The Federation of Greene County Employees (FOGCE) Federal Credit Union held its 44th Annual Meeting on December 19, 2019 in the recently dedicated Willie Carpenter Conference Room in the credit union offices at 112 Prairie Avenue, on the Courthouse Square in Eutaw, Alabama.
Joyce Pham, Credit Union Manager announced that as of December 31, 2018, the FOGCE Federal Credit Union had assets of $1,314, 887, which included $896,874 of member’s shares, a $100,000 non-member deposit and the rest in reserves and undivided earnings. She reported a surplus of $10,076 in income over expenses for the year.
She reported that the credit union had $466,544 in outstanding loans to members, $111,867 in cash, $31,000 invested in its building and the rest invested in other credit unions. She indicated that the credit union had 896 members.
Rodney Pham, speaking for the Credit Committee stated that the credit union had made 449 new loans in 2018 for $338,675 including five car loans for $105,535.
He said the credit union has a variety of loans, from small unsecured loans up to $500, larger loans for home repair, appliances, school expenses and other personal loans, as well as car loans for new and used cars.
Carol Zippert, President of the FOGCE FCU reported on the history of the credit union movement and the specific growth of the local credit union since 1975. “We are saving and borrowing each others money. In one of the smallest, poorest counties in Alabama, we have accumulated over $1.3 million by working collectively together. In 44 years, we have grown the credit union to over a million in assets and moved from rented rooms in the back of other buildings to our own offices at the Courthouse Square in Eutaw.”
Zippert indicated that the FOGCE Federal Credit Union was regulated and supervised by the National Credit Union Administration (NCUA), a division of the U. S. Treasury Department. The NCUA also guarantees deposits in the Credit Union up to $250,000 for each account, similar to the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation guarantee for bank accounts.
“NCUA makes sure your deposits are safe but they also have been very hard on smaller size credit unions like ours. They are always suggesting that we merge with a larger credit union. They are not encouraging credit unions like ours, which teach self-determination and self-development of financial skills, thrift and systematic savings in the Black community,” said Zippert
Zippert also announced that the Credit Union Board had named the conference room in the back of it’s office building, as the Willie Carpenter Conference Room, in honor of the longtime Treasurer of the credit union, who passed away during the past year. “We will be placing a framed picture of Mr. Carpenter in the room with a written statement of his the dedicated work in building the FOGCE FCU over the past four decades,” said Zippert.
Darlene Robinson, Vice-President pointed out that the FOGCE FCU has payroll deduction with the major employers in Greene County, such as the School Board, Catfish plant, Hospital, WestRock box factory and many others. “This means that you can make savings and pay loans through your place of work. The funds will come out of your check and come automatically to the credit union,” she said.
Darlene Robinson was also Mistress of Ceremony for the Annual meeting and conducted elections, distributed door prizes and played some Christmas related games. Two members were re-elected to the Credit Union Board, Carol P. Zippert and Earnest Edmonds and one new member, Jackie Allen, was elected for three-year terms. James Powell and Debbie Rice were re-elected to the Credit Committee, which evaluates and approves loans.
Robinson pointed out that the “FOGCE Federal Credit Union is open to all who live, work or worship in Greene County.
Membership is $10 plus a minimum first deposit of $25. You can save regularly and systematically and your savings will grow. Then when you need a loan – you have a friendly place to borrow. The Credit Union office, on the Courthouse Square, at 112 Prairie Avenue, phone number 205/372-9025, is open weekdays, to receive new members.”

Town of Union constructs first community storm shelter

L to R: Town Council members Helen Sanford, Louise Harkness, Gene Colvin and Mayor James Gaines; Town Council members Rosie Davis and Alonzo Thompson.

The Town of Union, Greene County, cut the ribbon on its completed storm shelter at a special program held Tuesday, October 17, 2017 on the town’s municipal complex. Mayor James Gaines and the Town Council welcomed the residents and friends who gathered to witness the grand event.
“This is truly a great moment for us. We got passed over the first time the Town of Union was designated to receive funds for our community storm shelter, so we took matters into our own hands and not only made plans to construct the shelter, but we carried it out those plans,” Mayor Gaines stated.

“ We are proud of ourselves and very appreciative of those who did assist us,” he said.
According to Ms. Marilyn Sanford, town clerk, “It took just about one year to complete our project, from the time the specs were let in October 2016 to this grand occasion in 2017.”
At a cost of approximately $83, 000, coming from Bingo resources, the Union Storm Shelter is 48 ft. in length, 10 ft. Wide and 8ft. in height. The structure is designed to hold about 100 individuals, but can really contain many more.
Mayor Gaines and the Town Council emphasized that the Union Storm Shelter is not just for the Union community. “This shelter will be open to all who are in need of a safe haven when a severe storm hits. We will not turn away anyone,” they stated.
Greene County officials attending the ceremony included County Commissioners Lester Brown, Tennyson Smith and Allen Turner; Greene County Sheriff Jonathan Benison; Hodges Smith, President of the Association of VFD; Iris Sermon, Director of E911; Boligee Town Council Member Teresa Mack; Kinya Turner represented Forkland Mayor Charlie McCalpine; and Carol Zippert, Vice-President, Greene County Board of Education.