Northwoods Credit Union buying North Shore Bank of Commerce Cloquet branchNorthwoods Credit Union is buying the Cloquet branch of the North Shore Bank of Commerce.
By: Jana Peterson and Candace Renalls, Pine Journal
Northwoods Credit Union is buying the Cloquet branch of the North Shore Bank of Commerce.
The sale includes the bank’s building at 902 Stanley Ave. along with the branch’s deposits and safety deposit boxes, said Ken Johnson, North Shore’s chief operating officer.
“The loans we are keeping,” he said.
The branch’s customers who have checking, savings, certificates of deposit and safety deposit boxes will be automatically transferred to the credit union unless they notify the bank before the sale closing date, expected to be July 20.
While business has never been as strong in Cloquet as North Shore Bank of Commerce hoped, Northwoods Credit Union has the opposite problem. The credit union has grown from $43,656,529 in assets in 2008 to $58,250,000 as of May 31, 2012, and has over 6,500 member/owners. A second branch in Cloquet – as well as its Carlton branch office – will further help the credit union meet the needs of its members.
“Business has been good,” said Barb Brown, the credit union’s president. “We’re growing. We wanted to be more visible in the community. We were glad this opportunity came up.”
Northwoods has a long history in Cloquet. The credit union originally opened as the Northwest Paper Employees Credit Union in a small trailer on mill property in 1936. The name – along with the mill – changed in 1992 to Potlatch Employees Credit Union. When the mill sold to Sappi Fine Paper, the name changed again – to Northwoods Credit Union. At that time, the credit union began expanding its field of membership to include other Select Employee Groups in 2002. In 2010, the credit union expanded its field of membership to include anyone who lives, works, worships, attends school or volunteers in Carlton County.
Johnson said the sale isn’t out of necessity, it’s a good business move for both the bank and the credit union.
“It seemed to be a better fit for them, a perfect fit,” Johnson said.
Northwoods had originally planned to build a new branch office at the former Bearaboo Coffee Escape site, basically next door to the current North Shore bank branch site. Spokeswoman Kate Mason said the credit union still owns the former Bearaboo building and grounds and noted that credit union officials will evaluate that property after the purchase of the North Shore bank building is finalized.
Talks between the bank and credit union began in February with an agreement reached in March, Brown said.
“They presented us with an offer,” Johnson said. “They liked our location, and they liked our building. It seemed like a good business decision for both parties.”
“It was a win-win,” Brown agreed.
Notification letters went out to the bank’s Cloquet branch customers in March, Johnson said.
The credit union will hire three employees for the new branch, Brown said. Johnson said no bank jobs will be lost. One of the branch’s seven employees will go to work for the credit union. The rest have been offered other positions with the bank.
The sale is awaiting final approval by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation and National Credit Union Administration, their industry regulators.