RIO HONDO — Branch No. 5 of the RGV Credit Union is taking shape here at the old Wells Fargo bank building at 117 E. Colorado St.
The new credit union location will be ready for customers sometime this summer, although an ATM has been operating at the site for the past two weeks.
The credit union will become the only financial institution in Rio Hondo when it does open for business, and its location is in keeping with the philosophy of the rapidly growing RGV Credit Union.
“We were looking for an opportunity to put an ATM in Rio Hondo, and we couldn’t find a location that was suitable for an ATM, a piece of property they were either willing to rent to us or sell to us,” Missy Morrow, president and chief executive of RGVCU, said Thursday.
“When we found out that Fargo had closed their branch there, we decided that that would be the perfect opportunity for us to move into that area,” she added. “As it is with our Lyford branch, it is an underserved area that definitely could use a financial institution. So we looked into it and now we’re moving on.”
In addition to the Lyford branch, RGVCU has two locations in Harlingen and another in San Benito.
According to the credit union’s financial report for 2020, it now boasts $110 million in assets.
Rio Hondo suffered serious economic consequences due to the lengthy closure of its mechanical lift bridge for a refit, in effect cutting the city in two.
Perhaps partly in response to that, word of a new banking facility here has been received quite positively, Morrow said.
“The ATM’s been up and operational now for maybe not quite two weeks, and the response had been tremendous,” she said. “We’ve had a lot of phone calls from our members, people that are already members living in the area, that will be thankful to have a branch office over there. We’ve had calls from people who say once we move over there, they’re going to open an account with us.”
Morrow noted that, similar to Lyford, the Rio Hondo area lacks the resources and availability of a financial institution, and RGVCU sees both an opportunity and the fulfillment of a commitment.
“Our whole foundation is built on serving the underserved,” Morrow said. “We feel like that’s what we were organized for and what our challenge in life is, to serve the underserved.
“And when you go into a smaller community that has no financial services as far as banking is concerned, to me that’s what you’re doing,” she added. “You’re bringing the services to people who perhaps can’t come to Harlingen all the time, even though it’s a 15- or 20-minute drive, maybe they can’t drive that far, or they don’t have transportation.”
Like even the best plans these days, the coronavirus pandemic has made itself felt here as well.
Morrow said the refurbished Wells Fargo location will be delayed because of it, and at this time her credit union doesn’t have a firm date for opening.
“No, we don’t, and it’s COVID-related,” she said. “It’s trying to get inspections, and things like that, that have been delayed. We’re hoping that it’ll be open in the second quarter, the end of the second quarter, so maybe June-ish. It might run into July. But sometime during the summer, we hope to be open.”