After five years in the Middletown Shopping Center relatively unseen, the Delaware First Federal Credit Union recently opened a new location on Sandhill Drive off U.S. 301. They held a ribbon-cutting on June 21.


    When Delaware First Federal Credit Union decided to expand from its sole office in Wilmington five years ago, it moved into the Middletown Shopping Center on Broad Street. Unfortunately, not many noticed them.
    “The people didn’t know we were here,” said Sharon Schaeffer, president and CEO of the credit union.
    However, their new location on 98 Sandhill Drive makes them hard to miss. The new building, with two-lane drive thru services, can be seen from U.S. 301.
    “We have great visibility,” Schaeffer said. “It’s a great location.”
    She said the credit union originally began in 1972 as the Capital Trails Auto Workers Federal Credit Union and was geared toward serving the General Motors Assembly Plant in Wilmington. The credit union expanded and became GemCo Employees in 1979, switching to its current name in 2002.
    Schaeffer said membership in the credit union is open to anyone who lives, works or worships in New Castle County. Like a bank, it offers many financial accounts such as savings accounts, certificates, Christmas/Holiday/Vacation clubs, money market accounts, checking accounts, IRAs and small business checking accounts. It also offers various loans – personal, car, home equity, first mortgages  – as well as ATM cards that are surcharge-free on the All-Point Network. Customers can also bank online.
    “We pretty much have everything that a bank has,” Schaeffer said.
    However, unlike a bank, in which stockholders own the shares, those who bank at the credit union will own the shares.
    “We want to be known as Middletown’s hometown credit union,” Schaeffer said.
    The credit union held its grand opening celebration on June 21. Visitors included Middletown Police Officer Michael Iglio and K-9 Nitro, WJBR FM radio station and mascot J Bear, the Volunteer Hose Co. of Middletown with a fire truck and country singers Warren Montgomery and Don Shaw. The credit union also held an Alex’s Lemonade Stand, which raised money for children’s cancer research.
    Schaeffer said the credit union’s deposit rates were competitive and encouraged Middletown residents to come and see what the credit union is all about.
    “We’re ready to serve them,” she said.
    The Delaware First Federal Credit Union is open Mondays through Wednesdays from 9:30 a.m. to 5 p.m., Thursdays and Fridays from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. and Saturday from 9 to noon. For more information, call (302) 998-0665 or go to www.delawarefirst.com.