Stark County credit union employs nearly 130 people at four locations, issued $110 million in local loans in 2018 and is evolving with ever-changing member needs.

Inside its branches, in promotional materials, on social media channels and throughout our community, CSE Federal Credit Union pushes the message, “Bank Local."

This is more than just a clever marketing slogan. For CSE, it represents a way of life.

CSE got its start as the Canton School Employees Federal Credit Union in 1938.

Its forward-thinking founders believed that by joining together, they could provide common people sound financial resources at reasonable costs.

This founding principle still drives CSE and its 127 associates at four locations to this day.

CSE membership is open to people who live, work, worship, attend school or volunteer in Stark County. CSE also provides financial services to businesses in Stark County.

From its modest beginning, the credit union has grown substantially. It’s been strengthened over the years by the loyal support of its members.

CSE began serving only employees of Canton City Schools. Soon employees of North Canton City Schools, Malone University, Stark State College and the Stark County District Library were added.

CSE Body Image

In the early ’80s, employees of the Canton Christian Home joined. After the passage of H.R. 1151 (The Credit Union Membership Access Act) in 1998, membership began to grow rapidly.

In 2003, when the National Credit Union Administration granted CSE a Community Charter, CSE was able to make membership available to people throughout Stark County.

CSE continues to be member owned and operated, unlike most banks in Stark County.

Headquarters, at 1380 Market Avenue North in Canton, also serves as the credit union’s operations center. CSE also has offices in North Canton (6879 Whipple Ave. NW), Lake Cable (5414 Fulton Dr. NW) and Meyers Lake (1235 Whipple Ave. NW).

CSE’s products and services range from checking and savings accounts to home and car loans to home equity loans to debit and credit cards, and mobile and online banking. CSE also offers student loans and small-business loans.

CSE provides free services to members including notary, coin counting, check cashing and a surcharge-free ATM.

“We work hard to keep fees as low as possible,” said Barnes. “We’re owned by our members, so it’s our duty to provide value for them.”

Financial services continues to change rapidly and dramatically.

“We’ve been able to adapt to take care of our members’ changing needs,” said Barnes.

Online transactions recently surpassed branch transactions.

CSE continually invests in new technology, products and services to make convenience, comfort and trust reality for members.

“Our members don’t have to sacrifice anything by doing their banking with us,” said Barnes. “We offer the same products and services as the large national institutions.

“And through our membership in the CO-OP Financial Services network, CSE members have access to their accounts in more than 5,000 branches and access to more than 30,000 surcharge-free ATMs all over the country.”

Nearly all CSE deposits are from within Stark County, and virtually all CSE loans are issued in Stark County.

“We issued $110 million in loans in Stark County in 2018,” said Barnes. “We’re fortunate to be able to help our members make a big economic impact here in our community.”

One thing that makes CSE different is that it serves the entire Stark County population, not just the affluent.

“We’re proud to provide the underserved with financial services they might not be able to get elsewhere,” said Barnes. “It takes all kinds of members to make our business model work.”

And work, it does.

Since opening up to serve the entire Stark County population in 2003, CSE has grown from $70 million in assets to more than $265 million.

CSE also is committed to giving back to the community.

CSE provides financial education programs throughout the county, including its recent partnership with Banzai, a program used by millions of teachers and students around the country.

CSE also supports nonprofits including the Be a Better Me Foundation, the Children’s Miracle Network, the Salvation Army, Special Olympics, Perry Police and Wishes Can Happen.

Barnes said it’s wise to anticipate more significant changes coming to financial services in the near future.

“We haven’t yet fully envisioned exactly what our industry will look like in the next five years,” Barnes said.

But one look into the crystal ball reveals that CSE Federal Credit Union will still remain focused on meeting the financial services needs of our local community.