TLC Credit Union celebrates 60th anniversary


Wayne Zettel

Sixty years ago, Herb Morden, president of the Tecumseh Products Workers Union, and two other union members decided to start a credit union. Along with 23 other members, they chartered the Tecumseh Products Workers Credit Union, began enrolling members, and took in about $2,000.

The credit union continued to grow, so Beth Brown from United Savings Bank (now Old National Bank) was hired to take in and record deposits. She sat at a card table in the union office and used a cigar box to hold the cash. In 1961 board members decided it was time to hire a manager.

Joe Dziachan, a board member and uncle of Wayne Zettle’s wife, Mary, asked if Wayne would be interested in applying for the job. Still attending college, Zettle was working at a start-up credit union in West Branch. A few weeks later, after agreeing to a $5,000 annual salary, the Zettles began their move to Tecumseh, using a granary truck to transport their belongings.

When Zettel first began his tenure it cost $.25 to join and members could borrow a limit of $400. He remembers the first $1 million in assets for the credit union was recorded in 1968. There are other highlights, but two critical events affecting the credit union include the strike by Tecumseh Products union employees, which began late in 1968 and ended in February of 1969, and the merger with Lenawee County Community Credit Union.

“We survived all the tough times by trying to tell people not to draw out more money than they needed,” Zettlel recalled. “I also asked a friend of mine…for a $60,000 loan.”

“The merger in 1984 gave us a huge boost; it was a tremendous time of growth,” Zettel remembered. “We were growing by 27 percent a year.”

With the merger, the credit union was renamed Tecumseh-Lenawee County Community Credit Union (TLCCU). In 1987 construction began at the new main office in Adrian with the grand opening in 1988. While there was a lot of scrutiny by the board, a second floor was planned for future expansion.

“By the time we moved in we had so many employees we needed the extra space,” Zettel said.

Zettel retired as Chief Executive Officer in 1999. At that time, TLCCU’s assets were nearly $155 million. In 2000, he was elected to the board. He retired from his seat in 2011.

Senior Member Service Representative Pam Gafner is the longest-serving employee. She was hired in 1979.

“One thing that hasn’t changed is our philosophy of ‘People Helping People,’” Gafner said. “The paperwork and equipment have changed. I remember when six of us worked off of one Burroughs machine. Now we each have our own equipment. I think we’re faster and more efficient.”

Chief Executive Officer Randy Smith began six months after Gafner, starting in 1980 in the collections department. At that time, assets were about $9 million and there were about 9,000 members.

“In the 35 years I’ve worked at TLC, many things have changed,” Smith said. “Maybe the most notable change has been the quality of staff and knowledge they require to run a successful credit union. With our credit union offering so many services and so much technology, the expertise needed is much different than it was in the beginning when we offered basic savings and signature loans.”

Executive Vice President of Operations Roy Cadieux began working for the credit union in 1982 as a loan officer.

“It was a lot easier to make loans back then. A guy would come over and borrow fifty dollars,” he recollected. “We never had any delinquencies. It was easier to get to know everyone. We’re still pretty low-key, but it’s more difficult to know everyone like we used to because there are so many more people.”

Currently TLCCU has roughly $420 million in assets with 46,000 members and five offices throughout the county.

David Miller, who is the longest-serving board member, began his tenure in 1989. He worked on the credit committee and then the supervisory committee before becoming a board member.

“The biggest contributor to our growth was when we got into home mortgages and credit cards,” Miller said. “I think now our call center has really made life easier for everyone.”

Ray and Marian Stockinger have been members since the credit union started. They have never missed a credit union annual meeting.

“It’s always nice to go to the banquet,” Ray said. “In the early years, they always did something for the family.”

“They would let the kids draw numbers and give them a quarter for helping,” Marian remembered. “They had a lot of fun.”

“(The credit union) is now enormously larger… the funds and the different divisions,” Ray said, “but the service has always been excellent. We wouldn’t go any other place.”


Tecumseh Herald


110 E. Logan St.
P.O. Box 218
Tecumseh, MI 49286

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