In 1954, employees of National Water Lift in Kalamazoo met to form the Lift Line Credit Union (named for the Lift Line product line), to help meet the financial needs of their fellow employees.
Led by founder, treasurer and Account #1 holder Paul Matyas, the credit union began providing much-needed low interest loans and other financial services to its member-employees.
As the company flourished, membership continued to steadily grow and by 1965 it had grown big enough to hire its first full-time employee, Robert Moore. Moore would go on to lead the credit union for the next 40 years as its CEO, seeing it through a myriad of changes including its renaming in 1970 to the National Water Lift Employees Credit Union; to better reflect the field of membership.
Due to the growth in Kalamazoo’s small industry, the decision was made in 1977 to amend the credit union’s charter to serve companies on the south east side of Kalamazoo. Along with the change in our charter came a change in our name to KALSEE (Kalamazoo South East Employees) Credit Union. In 1978 KALSEE moved from its long-time home at National Water Lift to the newly constructed Miller Rd. facility.
Over the next 30 years, several smaller traditional, company-based credit unions merged with KALSEE looking to provide better products and services for their employees:
- Interkal Credit Union – 1977
- Eckrich Employees Federal Credit Union – 1981
- Allied Paper Corporation Credit Union – 1984
- Northwest Industrial Credit Union – 1990
- Papermakers Credit Union – 1992
- Simpson Lee Employees Credit Union – 2001
- Battle Creek Building & Trades Employees Credit Union– 2006
- Kalamazoo Gazette Employees Credit Union – 2008
- Kalamazoo Building Trades Credit Union – 2017
During this period, KALSEE also partnered with several notable area companies to provide the same great products and services for their employees. Among this group of area businesses, were The Upjohn Co., Stryker Corp., Checker Motors Corp., Green Bay Packaging Inc. and Durametallic Corp. to name just a few. In 1998 KALSEE closed its Miller Rd. location and moved its home office to its current location at 2501 Millcork St. in Kalamazoo.
In 2008, KALSEE adopted a community charter, now serving anyone who lives, works, or attends school in Allegan, Barry, Branch, Calhoun, Cass, Kalamazoo, St. Joseph, or Van Buren County.
KALSEE Credit Union is a full-service, financial provider offering a full range of solutions for your every personal or business need including; Checking, Savings, Lending and Visa® Credit Card. Additionally, we offer a full-suite of “Best-in-Class” Business Services, Investment and Insurance Services and Debt Counseling & Credit Management Services.
We invite you to experience the KALSEE difference first-hand. With over 60-years of service and 20,000 members strong, we have the tools, talent and experience to help you achieve your financial goals!
Mission and Vision
To build relationships and cultivate financial wellness, empowering people to focus on what matters.
KALSEE Credit Union wants to be the preferred and trusted life long financial partner of our members. Our increased focus on exceptional member service will be the building block for KALSEE to deliver on our motto of: “Our Family Serving Yours” The actions and empowerment of our staff will increase the relationships we build and drive our member focused decisions. Attracting younger members through innovative product offerings and marketing strategies will be essential in growing our loan portfolio and checking accounts.
Teamwork: Everyone working together toward a common goal; teamwork means putting the organization’s goals above personal goals so that together we all win. Recognizing when to help others and knowing when to ask for help are critical building blocks of teamwork. By embracing roles that allow us to contribute our best and highest value to KALSEE, we move closer to achieving our vision.
Integrity: It’s not enough to do things right, we must do the right things. Integrity means being honest in our relationships with each other and serving as a living example by living the morals and principals we hold true. By acting with integrity we build trust among our staff as well as with our members. Trust is essential in fostering a positive work environment and creating a climate for continued success.
Passion: Desire to be the best is what compels greatness. Passion is the unbridled enthusiasm that allows us to overcome seemingly insurmountable obstacles to get the hard things done. Through our personal sacrifice, determination and persistence, we signal our dedication to each other and our members. Passion is the behavioral embodiment of a winning culture.
Independent Thought: Creativity and discovery lay the foundation for personal and organizational growth. We respect the opinions and input of others, recognizing that a true learning organization allows each voice to be heard. By cultivating an environment that rewards risk and empowers people, we establish a mutual bond of trust that fuels intellectual curiosity and an entrepreneurial spirit.
Accountability: Taking ownership and accepting responsibility are vital characteristics of a valued team member. Being accountable means solving problems and avoiding crisis at the lowest possible level, regardless of the situation. When each team member makes accountability a personal priority, we demonstrate our professionalism and ownership necessary for achieving remarkable results. Personal accountability allows KALSEE to function more efficiently.
Positive Work Environment: Treating our members and employees with dignity and respect is critical for a positive work environment. A healthy workplace is a reflection of both our morals and professional standards and allows us to create an environment that nurtures trust through open-communication and teamwork. A positive work environment allows each team member to perform at the highest level.
Excellence: The roots of complacency are found in self-satisfaction. Striving for excellence means never being comfortable with the status-quo and recognizing that achievement is not an end-state. Accomplishments in and of themselves are fleeting, but the path to excellence is never ending. There’s always a better way to do it, find it.