WILMINGTON, N.C. (WECT) - Corning Credit Union held a ribbon-cutting ceremony for its new regional office on 17th Street on Wednesday but the financial institution has a much longer history in Wilmington.
Gary Grinnell, Corning's CEO who did the actual ribbon-cutting while flanked by members of his team as well as Wilmington Mayor Bill Saffo and other local officials, said Corning first came to the Port City in 1993 and built its first office here in 1998.
However, it was during the economic crash in 2007-08 that Corning began to make a real, and for many, lasting investment in the city.
"During the economic crisis, the financial crisis, the Corning Credit Union came into this community and helped a lot of people, people that probably had to file bankruptcy, people that have lost their homes, their businesses," Saffo said. "These people came in here, lent money to people, built relationships with folks and did a tremendous job in helping our community and serving this community."
Grinnell said there are 27,000 Corning members in Wilmington and he credited them with helping the credit union be able to open the 43,000 square foot facility near Fulton Station.
Ground broke on the project May 16, 2018, and seeing the shiny new three-floor office open for business gave Grinnell a sense of pride.
"Certainly this was a big and successful project but really it's the start of a new beginning for us to be able to grow and add more members, more jobs and more employees," Grinnell said. "It's one of the biggest moments for us in my (22-year) history with the credit union."
As impressed as Saffo is with Corning’s history in Wilmington, he is also enamored with the look of the building, which is easily the tallest structure in the Fulton Station area.
“It’s a beautiful building,” the mayor said. “It has changed the landscape of the South 17th Street extension.”
Corning operates five branches in the greater Wilmington area. Membership in the credit union is open to anyone who lives, works, worships or attends schools in Wilmington, Brunswick County and a portion of Pender County. Click here for more information.