CEO says Community Credit Union staying in downtown Lewiston 'where we belong'

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Community Credit Union President and CEO Jennifer Hogan, left, and Executive Vice President Christine Carter stand in the newly renovated lobby of the Pine Street branch in Lewiston on Wednesday morning. (Russ Dillingham/Sun Journal)

LEWISTON — Community Credit Union seriously considered moving out of the downtown, even buying land on Sabattus Street and scouting 20-plus other sites, before changing course 18 months ago.

Next week, it’s celebrating a roughly $600,000 renovation at its 144 Pine St. headquarters and staying put.

“It’s been a long process, but we’re so excited to have it coming to an end, just excited to lay our roots down,” said CEO Jennifer Hogan. “This is where we are and this is where we belong.”

Hogan said the credit union board voted three years ago that it was time to close and move. The building had been there since the 1980s. It was too small and not especially visible on a downtown one-way road.

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“We purchased land and everything — we were ready for this move,” she said. “When I took over as CEO two years ago, I had asked the board to pause on the decision, take another look at it.”

When developing the Sabattus Street property faced traffic hurdles, “we started looking at a bunch of different options, probably 20 or 30 other locations. One of the options that I presented to the board was to actually stay and just do a renovation, create some new offices and give it a face-lift and create the space that we need,” Hogan said.

Weighing the needs of members, many of whom live locally, arrive on foot and don’t have cars, made it an easy call to stay, she said.

Work began in August and will wrap up next week with new floors, ceilings, paint and handicapped-accessibility. No square footage was added, but the space was reconfigured to add two more offices and bring some functions that had been in the basement up to the main floor.

At the same time, the credit union also undertook a $350,000 renovation of its branch at 40 Stanley St. in Auburn, adding updates and a new teller line.

“Both branches, you walk in and it’s a completely different look, different design, much more user-friendly, much more open and warm when you walk in,” Hogan said.

The credit union is hosting the Lewiston Auburn Metropolitan Chamber of Commerce’s Business After Hours next Thursday at 144 Pine St. and having it double as ribbon-cutting.

“We really want to change the image of the downtown,” Hogan said. “I think there’s a lot of positive things going on down here. That’s part of our commitment to staying here: We’re going to be part of the solution.”

kskelton@sunjournal.com

Community Credit Union President and CEO Jennifer Hogan, left, and Executive Vice President Christine Carter stand in the newly renovated lobby of the Pine Street branch in Lewiston on Wednesday morning. (Russ Dillingham/Sun Journal)

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