Q&A: Cinfed’s Jay Sigler

Five questions with Cinfed’s Jay Sigler about the company’s move to Oakley.

Mike Boyer

One of Greater Cincinnati’s largest credit unions has new visibility thanks to a major investment in a new, full-service branch and headquarters in Oakley Pointe.

Cinfed Federal Credit Union, which has 33,000 members and about $400 million in assets, moved into the new two-story building at Ibsen and Kennedy avenues this spring. It consolidates two smaller administrative offices downtown.
“For our membership it provides significantly better presence in Greater Cincinnati and greatly increased visibility,” says Jay Sigler, CEO.

The location off Interstate 71 is centrally located within Cinfed’s charter area of Hamilton, Boone, Kenton and Campbell counties. Started in 1934, Cinfed today has eight area offices.

With so many banking options available today, what’s the value proposition for credit unions?
The big difference is in the ownership and management. Our board of directors are volunteers and we’re a cooperative so we don’t have shareholders. Instead of trying to generate a return for our shareholders, we give our return to our members in the form of better interest rates on deposits and lower fees and rates on loans.

Is Cinfed’s membership open to the public?
Four years ago we converted from closed membership to a community-based credit union. Membership is open to anyone who lives, works, worships, goes to school or regularly does business in Hamilton, Boone, Kenton and Campbell counties. And certainly anybody in Butler, Warren or Clermont counties who does any of those things in Hamilton County can be a member. At this point most credit unions are open to the entire community.

What is Cinfed’s growth plan?
We offer a full line of services: Mortgages, auto loans, consumer loans as well as a fair amount of commercial lending. Our plan is to grow in all those areas. We need a good mix of loans on our balance sheet. We have solid checking account products, online banking and mobile deposits and good credit card products. Nearly everything a larger bank would have.

What are some of the challenges credit unions face today?
Certainly making people aware they can join is one. And compliance and regulations are expensive. The low interest rate environment we find ourselves in today is not our favorite. Our margins are squeezed in a low interest rate environment. There’s not a lot of spread where we try to make a living.

What’s your background and how did you get into banking?
I grew up in Wooster, Ohio, and graduated from Bowling Green State University with an undergraduate and MBA degree. After living in Washington State for a while, we moved back here to be closer to family. I joined Cinfed 15 years ago as vice president of accounting and was named CEO in 2011.

To receive more articles from Cincy Magazine sign-up for a complimentary subscription here: http://bit.ly/1RHuu3g