Bronco honored as best

Published 8:45 am Wednesday, March 11, 2009

FRANKLIN—Despite troubling economic times for the nation, a financial institution here has risen to be named Business of the Year by the Franklin-Southampton Area Chamber of Commerce.

Bronco Federal Credit Union will receive the award at the Chamber’s 55th Annual meeting Tuesday at Cypress Cove Country Club.

“It’s great, at a time when the economy and the banking world is upside down, to have a sound financial institution in our community,” said Benny Burgess, whose business, Burgess & Co., took home the honor last year. Burgess will present the award at the Tuesday banquet.

“I will turn the baton over to Bronco Federal,” Burgess said with a laugh. “It’s really such a nice honor for them. They are such a strong community supporter. They support a lot of organizations.”

It’s that commitment to the area that made BFCU stand out, said Teresa Beale, executive director at the Chamber.

“They are such a shining example of good business practices,” Beale said. “They are successful; they hire a lot of people in the community; they have beautiful facilities and they give back to the community.”

Bob Petty, BFCU’s chief executive officer, said he was pleased by the honor.

“It’s awfully nice to have people say they like what you’re doing,” he said. “We’re very grateful.”

Petty said the secret to BFCU’s success has been its relationship with customers and its employees’ involvement in the community.

“We really view our members as family, and we treat them the way we would expect a family member to be treated,” he said. “Community involvement is very important to us, too.”

BFCU employs 72 staff members, both in Franklin and Suffolk. The nonprofit cooperative financial institution was founded in 1941 and is headquartered in Franklin. BFCU now has a community charter serving more than 18,000 members through five office locations throughout the Tidewater region.

Since the meeting lands on St. Patrick’s Day this year, it will have an Irish theme, including Irish fare and entertainment.

“We need to have some fun and cheer people up and make it light,” Beale said. “It’s going to be a fun evening.”

Cindy Thomason, business process consultant at Paul D. Camp Community College’s Workforce Development Center, will head a 10-minute icebreaker exercise with that in mind.

“It will be a takeaway about keeping upbeat and positive in the current economy,” she said.

During the awards, outgoing Chamber president Lauren Harper also will pass the gavel to incoming president Clyde Parker.