Achieving Organic Growth: A Success Story

In the heart of our communities, credit unions play a pivotal role. They are not just centers for financial transactions but a hub for vibrant community support and development.

Grove City Area Federal Credit Union is a shining example of this principle. Under the leadership of Alysia McCandless, CEO, the credit union has achieved remarkable growth through an unwavering commitment to its community mission. This post delves into how Grove City Area, through its focus on serving the underserved — and its unique approach to organic growth — has redefined the role of credit unions in community development.



A Journey of Growth

Since September 2016, Grove City Area has seen significant growth across various financial indicators.

Growth Analysis (2016 – 2023):

Members: Increased from 8,567 to 10,821.

This membership growth is a significant indicator of the credit union’s expanding membership base.

Assets: Grew from $70 million to $122 million.

This substantial asset increase reflects financial stability and growth, which is vital for any financial institution.

Loans: Rose from $41 million to $68 million.

The increase in loans suggests a growing trust in Grove City Area by their members and the ability to finance more significant endeavors.

But these numbers only tell part of the story. The true narrative lies in how the credit union achieved this growth — not through mergers and acquisitions, as is common today, but through a heartfelt commitment to community service.

Serving the Underserved: A Mission in Action

Grove City Area is dedicated to serving those often overlooked by other financial institutions. This includes individuals struggling with low credit scores or those who find themselves marginalized in traditional financial systems. Their philosophy is simple yet powerful — help those who need it most. This approach has fostered a strong and loyal membership base and exemplified the people-helping-people spirit unique to credit unions.

Colorworks Consultant Holly Mackewicz, who has worked with Grove City Area for eight years, remarks on the refreshing nature of a credit union that earnestly lives out its mission: “The credit union encourages members with poor credit to approach them for loans and works closely with them to ensure feasible payment plans and a strategy to improve their overall credit and credit score. This not only aids in rebuilding their credit but also reinforces the credit union’s role as a supportive financial partner.”

The Community-Focused Growth Model

The growth of Grove City Area Federal Credit Union is deeply rooted in community involvement. Their reach is extensive, from educational initiatives like youth scholarships and adopting classrooms to sponsoring local youth sports teams and partnering with local schools and organizations. Events like Community Food Truck Fridays, meet and greets with the Easter Bunny, and various seasonal activities further illustrate their commitment to being more than just a financial institution — they are a cornerstone of the community. Their community engagements are varied and impactful, catering to different groups and needs within the community:

  • Educational initiatives like the youth scholarship program, adopt-a-classroom at Hillview Elementary, and donations to Oakview Elementary.
  • Support for local youth sports through sponsorships of the Grove City Little League and Slippery Rock Youth Baseball Association, to name a few.
  • Partnering with the Grove City YMCA and Hillview Elementary for various programs.
  • Hosting community events like Food Truck Fridays, meet and greets with the Easter Bunny, and community shred days.
  • Involvement in seasonal and festive activities, such as distributing Halloween treats, volunteering with food pantries, and the Angel Tree Christmas gift program.

These efforts go beyond philanthropy; they are strategic investments in the well-being and development of the community. Each initiative helps build trust, establish strong relationships, and enhance the credit union’s visibility and reputation. This community-centric approach has been instrumental in driving their organic growth.

Leadership That Inspires

At the helm of this impressive growth is McCandless, who has served Grove City Area since 1999, rising through the ranks from Member Services Representative to CEO. Her leadership style embodies what a leader in a credit union should be — focused on members and dedicated to offering products and services that cater to all members’ needs. Her journey is a testament to the credit union’s commitment to growth and development for its members and employees.


A Blueprint for Success

The story of Grove City Area Federal Credit Union offers a blueprint for success that other financial institutions can emulate. Focusing on organic growth through deep community engagement can yield substantial results. By prioritizing the needs of those they serve and embedding themselves within the fabric of the community, Grove City Area has not only achieved financial success but has also made a lasting impact on the lives of many.

Grove City Area Federal Credit Union’s story is more than just a business success; it is a narrative of community empowerment, financial inclusivity, and the enduring spirit of support that defines the best of credit unions. As they continue to grow and serve, their journey remains a beacon, illuminating the path for others to follow in fostering a community-first approach in the financial sector.

How did Colorworks Help

Grove City Area and Colorworks have worked together to build the best possible Marketing Plan year over year. Grove City Area created goals for each year and then we use those goals to create a Marketing Plan for the following year. We meet monthly to ensure we are proactive and not reactive. When the overall Financial Marketing shifts, we seamlessly Pivot!  To learn more (link to url:

Grove City Area’s commitment to members starts with how they communicate. Both members and prospective members receive communication meant to break through their busy lives with an omni-channel personalized marketing approach orchestrated by Colorworks. Members receive information and product offerings that are relevant, timely, and actionable and reinforce Grove City Area’s commitment to its community and respect for its members.

Give members the assistance they need.

CLICK TO LEARN MORE about how Colorworks can help improve your marketing right now. To learn more, contact Holly Mackewicz at or call 800-243-0171. You’ll appreciate the results, and your members will appreciate you. We’re ready to help!

At Colorworks, we grow loans and membership by crafting and implementing a unique Marketing Plan for your credit union. Our strategy is to use integrated marketing tactics to reach your specific goals – all within your budget. Performance of the marketing plan is continuously evaluated to provide optimal Return on Investment.