OKLAHOMA CITY (Free Press) — “We’re back!” said True Sky Credit Union* teller Lisa Level. It was a long journey for employees and members of the all-new branch at N.E. 50th and Martin Luther King Avenue.
A problem that caused flooding had caused the branch employees to move into a temporary building for over a month right after their grand opening.
But, Saturday, employees seemed up-beat as they handed out balloons, treats, drinks, and hotdogs under covers set up in the parking lot to signal that their new building is open again.
“We are so happy to be back in the new building,” said Level.
Ribbon cut, then disaster
Only a few days after a big celebratory ribbon-cutting on June 25, a sewer problem leading out to the City main caused the entire building to flood. Lower parts of walls had to be torn out along with the carpets.
Parts of the new parking lot had to be dug up to replace a line as rehab was happening on the inside.
For the next month and a half of reconstruction branch employees had to operate out of a temporary building brought in to the site to service members who had signed up during the opening.
It was a challenge to Branch Manager Serena Campbell who said seeing the new building flooded was “devastating” at first.
Moving forward anyway
But then, they went back to doing the work of being a credit union for a part of the City that has seen little new investment meant to support the current residents in the last 30-40 years.
“It’s good to be back,” Campbell told Free Press. “We’re happy. The members are happy. It’s nice to feel like we’re home and finally unsettled.”
What is the goal of the branch now that the facility is there to support their efforts?
“We just hope to be a good place where people can learn about finances, how to manage their finances and just grow financially and do better,” Campbell said.
Board member Judy Richey was out at the branch once again Saturday circulating with members and visitors just as she had done in June at the original opening.
We asked her what it means to get a second start with reaching out to the community.
“Well, obviously, we had the great grand opening. And then we had the disaster in our building. And we couldn’t serve our members to the level that we wanted,” said Richey.
“But we want them to know that we are solidly behind them,” Richey continued. “We’re committed to this part of town and we want to see them grow and flourish.”
The branch was the second and largest of the two eastside branches opened in June. The first was on N.E. 23rd street in collaboration with a church.
Emriel Green and her son Giovanni were out to see what was going on. Giovanni was playing with some balloons as we talked with Emriel who said that she has been a member of True Sky for about a year.
Why is she a member?
“It’s definitely the personal relationships,” Green told us. “They recognize you. It’s my second time back here to this location and all the staff has remembered me and my son. My daughter was here and they recognized her, too.”
Green said that a big draw for her to join the credit union was “just being able to feel like family and not just another number.”
*True Sky Credit Union sponsors our Music and Film column and receives advertising for the sponsorship.
Last Updated August 28, 2021, 1:31 PM by Brett Dickerson – Editor