Nestled in a neighborhood, Mazuma's newest location outlines its business plan – Kansas City Business Journal – The Business Journals

Mazuma Credit Union spent years planning its newest branch. The Northland facility isn’t meant to simply offer community banking, but to add to the character of its neighborhood.
Mazuma had a grand opening last month for its new branch at 9660 North Oak Trafficway. The branch wasn’t built in a strip mall or a business-rich area that banks typically target for new branches. The credit union selected more of a residential-type area with a lot of new apartment complexes and homes going up.
CEO Deonne Christensen said Mazuma always wanted to put another location in the Northland, because its branch in Gladstone has been one of its busiest locations. But finding the exact right location took years longer than expected. In the meantime, Mazuma opened a Crossroads Arts District branch in 2017 and an Olathe branch in 2018. Christensen said the extra time spent planning a new Northland branch helped credit union officials gather more ideas.
“Our Crossroads branch wasn’t designed to be a money-making branch,” she said. “It was designed to show our commitment to the revitalization efforts Downtown, to give a platform to all the local artists in the area and to contribute to First Fridays. Then our Olathe branch is near a lot of box retailers, chains and franchises, so we wanted to create a space that was a platform for local small businesses to come onto our property and have fun.”
Mazuma built the new North Oak branch from the ground up. Aside from a spacious lobby and a modern banking component indoors, Mazuma saved plenty of room for outdoor amenities. There is an expansive grassy area with a patio, spaces for food trucks, the credit union’s own barbecue trailer and an area for dueling pianos or other musicians to entertain. It’s all designed to be welcoming to the community, encouraging local small businesses and the community to come over and enjoy the space.
“It was all very intentional,” Christensen said. “We didn’t want to be sucked into a lot of the retail spaces. We really just wanted to be in a neighborhood where people could associate Mazuma with community, almost as much as they do with financial products and services.”
She said Mazuma doesn’t have plans to create additional branches next year. Instead, it will invest in existing locations.
“For us, at this point, it’s not about getting bigger faster or expanding outside of the Kansas City area,” Christensen said. “We’re trying to immerse ourselves in all that’s going on throughout the city and find as many ways that we can to get involved, lift up and share the awesome things that our communities are doing.”
Christensen said Mazuma is positioned well to help small mom-and-pop stores. It’s underwriting and decision making is all local, and the credit union has the ability to think outside the box to help meet its members’ financial needs.
Overland Park-based Mazuma is the area’s second-largest credit union, based on 2021 assets of $895.75 million. It reported 71,658 members at the end of last year.
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