2013-02-21 / Top News

Hometown Credit Union holds 63rd Annual Meeting in Kulm

By Verda Seeklander


The Board of Directors for Hometown Credit Union are, left to right, Don Laeger of Fredonia, CEO Tony Buerkley of Kulm, Chairman Keith Giesler of Kulm, Secretary Darvin Fischer of Venturia, Jim McLeish of Hazelton and Vice Chairman Ken Wolf of Ashley. The Board of Directors for Hometown Credit Union are, left to right, Don Laeger of Fredonia, CEO Tony Buerkley of Kulm, Chairman Keith Giesler of Kulm, Secretary Darvin Fischer of Venturia, Jim McLeish of Hazelton and Vice Chairman Ken Wolf of Ashley. Credit Union members and their families filled the Kulm Community Center on Feb. 15 for Hometown Credit Union’s 63rd annual meeting. After a hearty meal, the business meeting was held while the kids went off to enjoy fun and games.

Chairman Keith Giesler gave the Board of Directors report. Before going into his report he commented on the new motto incorporated into the design of the employees’ new shirts. It reads “Members Matter Most.”

“That is true, not only tonight, but every day,” Giesler said.

He then commented on what is happening at the national level, the devaluation of the dollar and the effects that will have on the economy — inflation and higher interest rates.


CEO Tony Buerkley presents Hometown Credit Union’s Holly Bender of the Hazelton branch with a watch for 25 years of service. CEO Tony Buerkley presents Hometown Credit Union’s Holly Bender of the Hazelton branch with a watch for 25 years of service. “Those two kind of go together in the long term,” he said.

Giesler said the Credit Union experienced another year of strong growth, assets having again grown by 16 percent, deposits by 15 percent, loans by 20 percent and net income was a record high. Hometown Credit Union has doubled in assets in five years.

One of the goals of the Credit Union has been to implement an interest dividend to borrowing customers as soon as the HCU’s equity capital objective was attained. That goal was achieved this past year and the HCU Board approved a five percent dividend of interest rate return to its borrowers.

“If we control our growth and manage our risks and assets effectively, we should be able to continue this for years to come,” Giesler said.

Improvements and needed improvements were also mentioned. HCU recently approved a plan to go to mobile banking and an online bill paying service to accommodate customers. Also, a new roof was installed this year on the Ashley Credit Union building. An issue facing the Hazelton branch of Hometown Credit Union is a growing problem. HCU had an agreement with the Hazelton Clinic, a satellite of the Linton Hospital, that they could use the east side of the HCU building rent-free if the clinic would pay the cost of renovation to meet its needs because, at the time, HCU had adequate space.

“It has been a benefit for the community and it has been good for us as well,” Giesler said.

Chief Loan Officer Steve Anderson gave the credit committee report and Rodney Brosz gave the supervisory committee report. Director Darvin Fischer gave a report on theAshley branch of HCU and Ashley’s quasquicentennial which will be held June 20 - 23. Director Jim McLeish of Hazelton gave a report on the Hazelton branch and the community. CEO Tony Buerkley, who has held that position for 39 years, conducted the election of officers. He also reported that HCU is the eleventh largest Credit Union in North Dakota.

Don Laeger of Kulm was elected to another three-year term on the Board of Directors. John Elhard of Jud was re-elected to the Credit Committee.

CEO Buerkley was presented with a service award. He has been with HCU since 1974. Also receiving awards were Brandy Klusmann (Kulm office), 10 years; Holly Bender, (Hazelton branch) 25 years, and Betty Gunderson (Kulm office), 26 1/2 years.

Drawings were held, and each child in attendance received $2.

Hometown Credit Union was chartered in 1949.

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