4Front Credit Union balances digital innovation with a strong branch presence to better serve its members


In a word: 4Front Credit Union makes sure to stay up to date with its digital and physical presence. While strengthening its online offerings, the fund is expanding to even more branches until the end of the year. 4Front’s philosophy of helping people means that its credit card, loan and checking account services are competitive and transparent. The credit union also supports the financial well-being of its members with free educational resources online and at events.

Seven years ago, 4Front Credit Union made a decision that would greatly impact its trajectory. 2015 was the year the credit union embraced digital and online services for its members. This first investment in accessible services has enabled the credit union to be ready for the future.

Five years later, the Covid pandemic hit, and our lives would never be the same again. Millions of Americans lost their jobs and didn’t know how they were going to pay their bills. When businesses, restaurants and financial institutions all closed, 4Front Credit Union was ready to answer the call.

4Front’s commitment to digital options and physical branches in Michigan meant that members had access to their finances 24/7. The credit union has kept its physical locations open to help people through the pandemic, and its website has helped people find options while social distancing.

4Front Credit Union has 15 branches throughout Michigan.

Prospective members must only live, work, worship, or go to school in the state of Michigan, or be an immediate family member of an existing credit union member. A prospective member must also be a legal resident of the United States, 18 years of age or older, have a Social Security number, and government-issued identification.

4Front is still following the principles that have helped its members stay afloat during the pandemic, further strengthening its options online and at its branches. Its competitive interest rates on loans and credit cards, attractive rewards programs, and access to wealth management courses are growing the credit union’s membership.

“People tell their friends and family about us,” said Andy Kempf, CEO of 4Front Credit Union. “It really helped us. Growth in memberships and assets is outpacing that of its peers. We believe we have a model that works, and we will continue with this model knowing that it is extremely difficult to remove services, and we agree with that.

4Front Credit Union’s financial products are convenient and competitive with major banks. The credit union offers two types of credit cards: a secured credit card and a rewards card.

The secured credit card helps members rebuild their credit by freezing an initial deposit in the member’s savings account. The amount frozen in the account becomes the member’s line of credit.

The credit union is creating a new rewards system for its rewards card. The rewards card currently offers a low interest rate and 1% cash back on purchases.

Picture of 4Front Credit Union credit card

The 4Front Current Account is unique in that members receive 4% interest on the account balance. To qualify for the higher rate each month, members need only deposit $500, log in to online or mobile banking at least once, make 15 or more purchases with the debit card, and sign up for eStatements. and electronic notifications.

Credit Union’s Fast 4ward Payday program offers members their paycheck, retirement, or Social Security check up to two days early.

“As soon as we get it, we post it,” Kempf said. “With online banking you can see what is coming and many are wondering why they can’t just have money now. With us, as soon as we get it, we don’t sit on your money at all. We will give it to you.

Members who need extra help paying their bills before their next paycheck can take advantage of the QuickCash program. The loan is an alternative to traditional payday loans which charge high interest rates. Members can apply for the loan 24/7 and can even receive instant approval if they meet the requirements. No credit check is required to apply for the loan. The credit union approves loans based on the member’s relationship with 4Front.

The credit union may not check credit scores as part of the loan approval process, but they do report loan repayment to the credit bureaus. Member scores increase for on-time payments and are a good way to boost or repair credit scores.

Another program 4Front Credit Union is excited about is Plinqit, which helps members set and achieve savings goals. Members saving for a vacation, car, or other purchase can set automatic deposits to the Plinqit account and earn rewards for reaching their goals.

“What we’re primarily focused on is empowering people to manage their money their way,” Kempf said. “So that’s what we keep trying to do; make life simple.

4Front Credit Union has a rich history of serving the people of Michigan. It was originally founded nearly 70 years ago, and after merging with another credit union, it became 4Front in 2015. The credit union began serving government employees and expanded into now expanded to include anyone living in Michigan. 4Front has 15 branches spread across Northern Michigan, with three new branches under construction in Southwest Michigan.

The credit union’s banking approach is helping the branch grow after the Covid-19 pandemic. 4Front said it has grown between 20% and 30% every year since the pandemic began and is expected to eclipse the $1 billion threshold in assets later this year.

As several banks move more digitally, 4Front said it is emphasizing both physical and digital growth. The credit union has even seen more young people come to branches for face-to-face discussions.

Andy Kempf, CEO of 4Front Credit Union
Andy Kempf, CEO of 4Front Credit Union

“We believe in branches,” Kempf said. “A lot of people have said they’ve been dying since the late 90s. We disagree with that. We think people will choose where they bank based on a physical location close to where they are. of residence or work.

Members looking to buy a home will receive the confidence they need to receive an affordable bargain. Mortgage representatives can meet new homebuyers in person or via video.

4Front Credit Union said this type of accessibility drives growth and there are no plans to change this philosophy.

“If you’re using paper checks, those are going to stick around for many years whether we like them or not,” Kempf said. “We will continue to offer these, but we will also look at cryptocurrency support. So we will be at both ends of the spectrum.

One of the pillars of 4Front Credit Union is financial health and wellness. He wants his members to feel comfortable with the services provided to them and not lose money. As a credit union, the institution does not seek to make a profit. All revenue is used to provide members with better services.

4Front partners with Banzai!, a learning program that offers financial literacy and wellness courses. The partnership works with 30 schools and 100 teachers who teach students real-world finance courses. Banzai! also teaches and promotes financial wellness courses for adults.

The credit union also partners with Savvy Money, a program that helps people take control of their credit score. Members can see exactly what is affecting their credit score and what they need to do to increase it.

In addition to all the lessons, credit union lenders are CUNA certified, which means members can visit a branch to discuss their personal finances and receive help creating a budget.

4Front invests in itself, its programs and its members to stay on the cutting edge of technology and financial literacy.

“We invest a lot in bringing products and services to our members,” Kempf said. “We remain very, very competitive with the big banks. We say there is no reason for them not to come to us.

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