About Us

Serving our members since 1953

What is Sioux Valley Co-op Federal Credit Union?

Sioux Valley Co-op Federal Credit Union is a cooperative non-profit financial institution organized to provide its members with a place to save and a source of loans at reasonable rates. SVCFCU is owned and operated by its members. SVCFCU has a Board of Directors that is elected by its members, and has the responsibility to establish policies and procedures that provide sound and effective management of the credit union’s operations. Board members serve for a three year term on a volunteer basis. Current Board members are: Todd Good (President), Doug Schimmel (Vice President), Chad Frensko (Treasurer), Jim Beskow (Secretary), Gordon Lee, Francis Flemming, & Marlys Knight.

Sioux Valley Co-op Federal Credit Union has a Supervisory Committee and Loan Officers, whom are appointed by the Board on an annual basis and serve on a volunteer basis. The Supervisory Committee oversees the performance of the officials, loan officers, and employees, and is responsible for the annual audit, which they hire an outside Certified Public Accountant to perform. Current Supervisory Committee members are: Barb Kienast (Chairperson), Ray Achterberg, Gayla Anderson, and Barb Weber.

SVCFCU currently has two loan officers, Ed Cline and Cecil Kienast, whom act on applications for loans, requests for release of security, extensions, and/or refinancing.

Are Credit Unions Safe?

Sioux Valley Co-op Federal Credit Union is regulated and examined by an agency of the federal government, National Credit Union Administration.  Each member’s Credit Union deposits are insured up to $250,000 by this agency.  Credit Union employees are also bonded.   

Our History

The year 2013 marks the 60th anniversary of Sioux Valley Co-op Federal Credit Union.  From its meager beginnings of holding board meetings in the home of one of the original charter members to its present $13+ million in assets, the Credit Union has experienced substantial growth and has seen many changes.  Some of the most dramatic changes have occurred:

  • In policies, dividend rates, loan rates, and compliance
  • The period of de-regulation in the 1980’s
  • In the present age of technology.

This Credit Union had its beginnings under the influence of Art Voelsch.  As part of Farmers’ Union Co-op, he traveled the area in 1953 visiting with over 700 farmers.  He saw the need for the pooling and borrowing of money, which is the basis of credit union philosophy.  Art traveled to Washington, D.C. in 1953 with about 40 others on a National Farmers’ Union bus to meet and speak with legislators regarding farm bills and legislation.

On June 13, 1953, a credit union was chartered as Watertown Farmers’ Union Co-op FCU.  Ten individuals signed the charter.  Those 10 original charter members were Wilbert Bartz, James Stormo, Frank Boeder, J.N. Rueschenberg, August Zamow, John Boyd, Arthur Voelsch, William J. Fox, Edgar O. Bunde, and Joseph J. Fox.   The Bureau of Federal Credit Unions approved the charter on June 30, 1953.  Through the years, the name and field of membership of the Credit Union experienced several changes:

  • In 1953 the field of membership was limited to “members, participating patrons, and employees of the Farmers’ Union Machinery and Supply in Watertown.”
  • In 1955 an amendment to the charter was made for the field of membership to read:  “members, participating patrons, etc. of the Watertown Co-operative Elevator Association in Watertown”.
  • In 1958 another amendment was signed, changing the field of membership to “members of the Sioux Valley Co-op” when the Sioux Valley Co-op broke away from Watertown Community Oil.
  • On August 15, 1963, the charter was amended to change the name of the credit union to the present “Sioux Valley Co-op Federal Credit Union”.
  • Several amendments have been made in subsequent years adding various select employee groups to the field of membership.

The first Treasurer of the Credit Union was Leonard Stoltenburg.  William (Bill) Fox, who worked at Swift Packing House, followed as the second Treasurer.  Following Bill’s death in 1960, Leonard Richter, manager of the Sioux Valley Co-op, took over as manager of the credit union until March, 1987.  Since that time to the present, Kathy Lentsch has served as the manager.

The first Board meetings on record were held in Bill Fox’s house.  The office was later moved to the back room at Sioux Valley Co-op on Highway 20.  From September 1983 through February 1984, monthly meetings were held at the Panatorium Dry Cleaners office at 314-1st Ave NE.  In April 1984, the Credit Union moved its office to the south side of the former Uptown Motel at 316 East Kemp.  In October 1999, the office moved to its present location on the west side of the building, sharing space with Watertown Rubber Workers FCU. 

Some of the very first loans with the Credit Union were in the amounts of $100.  The purpose of those loans was to purchase gas.   They were set up as one-pay loans, due in the fall of the year.  Due to lack of funds at maturity, those loans needed to be extended.  A financial statement from year-end 1959 states the total number of loans made in that year was 37.  In contrast, we average 70 loans per month in 2013.

In July 2004, the decision was made and approved by the National Credit Union Administration to merge Watertown Rubber Workers FCU into the Sioux Valley Co-op FCU to better serve the members from both credit unions.  The officials of both Credit Unions were combined resulting in a Board of Directors consisting of 11 directors and a Supervisory Committee consisting of 5 members.  The credit committee was abolished, but 4 of its 6 members became loan officers.  The Credit Union officials chose to keep the name “Sioux Valley Co-op Federal Credit Union”.  Overnight, the assets increased from $4.8 million to $6 million.

Throughout the years, several select employee groups have been added to the field of membership.  These employee groups include employees (and their families) of the following employers:  Terex-Telelect;  ANZA, Inc; Persona; Worth Electronics Midcom; OEM Worldwide; Empi, Inc;  Dakota Bodies, Inc;  Superior Homes;  Twin City Die Castings;  Smith Equipment; Watertown Area Transit;  B & G Welding; Codington County; and Minnesota Rubber Workers (through the merger).

In 2004, the following Mission Statement was adopted:

The Mission of Sioux Valley Co-op Federal Credit Union is to effectively serve its existing and future members, as defined by the field of membership, by encouraging and promoting financial services that enhance each member’s individual circumstances.