News & Press: Credit Union News

Maurices announces Minnesota Power Employees Credit Union to be tenant

Monday, February 1, 2016  
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Duluth News Tribune © February 1, 2016 – The first of three storefront locations in the new Maurices headquarters has been filled. Minnesota Power Employees Credit Union will move into a storefront on the main floor of the new building on West Superior Street.

Maurices will formally announce the move today.

The deal has been secured for some time, said Nancy Hutchinson, senior vice president of marketing and business development for MPECU. Credit union employees have been keeping the big secret.

“They have kept it confidential,” Hutchinson said. “We have very wonderful employees.”

The new Maurices headquarters is on track to open April 25, providing a new home for Maurices’ 450 corporate office employees in Duluth.

While the majority of the $80 million, 11-story building is dedicated to Maurices employees, there were three locations available for lease.

MPECU will occupy a 6,000-square-foot location on the building’s eastern streetside corner and will open in June.

“We’ll have our own set of doors and we’ll have both ends of the street,” said Hutchinson, acknowledging that MPECU will maintain its primary location in the Minnesota Power building several blocks east at 21 W. Superior St.

MPECU’s Maurices headquarters location will be a full-service branch, joining the credit union’s other branch location in Hermantown.

“Minnesota Power Employees Credit Union is a great fit for our new headquarters and will offer many benefits to our associates, including convenient access to financial services and classes,” Maurices President and Chief Executive Officer George Goldfarb said in a news release.

Maurices spokeswoman Laura Sieger said discussions are underway to secure tenants for the similar-sized western corner storefront and a smaller location on the second floor accessible by skywalk. Sieger said National Bank of Commerce — which three years ago signed a letter of intent to occupy part of the new building — will not be a tenant; plans changed as the project developed, she said.

Hutchinson said that MPECU has its origins in people helping people out of a worksite lunchbox. Is it now celebrating its 83rd year in business. During its first 61 years, it served solely employees of Minnesota Power and their family members.

“MPECU is and has been a great employee benefit for the power company employees and their families for the past 83 years,” said Al Hodnik, CEO of Allete Inc., parent company to Minnesota Power, in the Maurices news release.

In more recent years, MPECU has partnered with 20 employee groups, including Maurices and its parent company, Ascena Retail Group; the Duluth News Tribune; Cirrus; CenturyLink; AT&T; Como Oil & Propane and more. MPECU now includes more than 6,700 members.

“We very strategically added groups that would continue to support us in downtown and who we could give the best benefit,” Hutchinson said, adding that MPECU is cautious to open branches and only rents its facilities. “We do not build; we want our money to go back to members.”

MPECU’s branch in Maurices headquarters will employ 10-12 people. Financial education has become an important part of their services, and Deb Almirall, MPECU’s president and chief executive officer, said in the news release that the credit union is eager to serve the inhabitants of its newest location.

“MPECU is proud to have Maurices and Ascena employees as members/owners, and we are excited to serve their employees with accessible, face-to-face member service as well as provide personal financial education,” Almirall said.

Maurices has been headquartered in Duluth since 1931. During two weekends in April, its corporate offices will be moved from the company’s current headquarters at 105 W. Superior St. into the new headquarters spanning the 400 block of West Superior. A meeting of the Ascena Retail Group — which includes Maurices, Catherines, Dressbarn, Justice, Lane Bryant, Ann Taylor and Loft — has been scheduled for June at the new headquarters.

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