Credit Unions are a truly novel innovation, not only for financial institutions, but also as a unique business model. To the casual observer they look a lot like banks: they both hold deposits, make loans, offer checking accounts and ATM cards, and offer other investment services. But the real difference between banks and credit unions lies not so much in the services they offer, but how they are operated.
Banks are for-profit companies. They earn revenue by charging interest on loans, collecting fees, managing funds and reinvesting that money to earn more profit, which is then distributed to shareholders.
Credit unions are not-for-profit institutions. Technically, the shareholders in a credit union are those who have accounts, also known as “members,” and the profits of a credit union are reinvested in the institution and its members, which, in turn, returns benefits into the community.
Though they have evolved considerably, credit unions began as cooperatives set up for and by employees in certain industries. In the U.S., school teachers and government workers were some of the first to form credit unions, as their salaries often prohibited them from qualifying for commercial bank loans. Community Credit Union (CCU) has continued this historic tradition of serving the needs of people on the Space Coast and partnering with area businesses, such as MEC Contractors-Engineers, to deliver positive, lasting community impact.
ONE STOP PROJECT MANAGEMENT
MEC has developed their own unique model as well. For local businesses exploring construction opportunities, two of the most impactful factors in the construction process are time and money. From the day a business owner decides they want to build to the final day of construction the typical timeline spans, on average, about two years.
“Saving any amount of time in that continuum is invaluable, since you’ve got such a long process,” said Gary Neal, Vice President of MEC.
“So, if you can save three months to a half a year, it’s tremendously helpful, especially if you’re looking to get a competitive edge in the market.”
The combination of common-sense value and extensive experience appealed to Community Credit Union as they looked to accommodate their growth and better serve their members.
MEC Contractors-Engineers, with offices in Melbourne and Orlando, has been delivering general contractor services for over 40 years.
Both organizations also share a common passion for the Space Coast community. “There was a lot of alignment between CCU and MEC, said Laurie Cappelli, CEO of Community Credit Union. “We both are enthusiastic supporters of Junior Achievement, LEAD Brevard and Rockledge Rotary. Our mission, ‘Always improve the financial well-being of our members and make a positive difference in the community,’ were values they also exemplified.”
Whether a small business or a large one with multiple locations such as CCU, MEC has found that the relationship they build with clients, and the sense of collaboration in understanding the goals and needs of the organization, is how what defines a successful project.
MEC’s streamlined process addresses all the facets of construction and also manages the myriad of details that are involved in any commercial project, saving the client the headache of juggling a laundry list of to-dos, while also working to communicate both the expected and unexpected elements of the process. This allows MEC clients to rely on the expertise and experience of one company to manage the project from start to finish, while clients can stay focused on what they do best — running their business.
“We can help put together high-level budgeting to ensure owners make smart financial investment decisions from the beginning. Through the permitting process, through the pricing process and over to construction, along with our carefully engineered due diligence, it goes all the way to giving the keys to the building,” Neal said.
Clients appreciate the transparency that MEC has built into the process, saving them from what Neal refers to as “spinning the wheels”- struggling to find the right contractors for their unique job and financial situation.
LOCAL PARTNERSHIP, COMMUNITY BENEFITS
Community Credit Union has relied on the expertise and insight of MEC for a number of projects. Most recently, visitors to the Rockledge credit union may have noticed that the interior of its headquarters got a complete makeover this year.
In addition, MEC recently completed a full renovation of an existing building for CCU’s new Port St. John branch and currently are constructing CCU’s new Titusville branch across from Titus Landing. This branch is expected to open late summer/early fall. Another key partner in all three projects is American Business Interiors, led by Diana Gonzalez-Villamil.
These projects grew out of a synergy between MEC and CCU that began several years ago, when MEC did a smaller project for the credit union. When they decided to redo their Rockledge headquarters, Cappelli knew from her previous experience with MEC that this would translate into something positive. “They’re very responsive,” she said. “Plus, they’re a local contractor and they’re easy to work with.”
Cappelli recognized that despite the construction, it was important for office to remain open to service members. This was a dilemma, because the year-long remodel involved stripping the building down to its bare bones and working up from there.
“MEC was very flexible,” Cappelli said. “They accommodated our need to stay open.”
MEC further stepped up to the job by rearranging their schedule to minimize impact on the credit union’s day-to-day business, while still completing the project within the year.