Woman sitting in at  table with a birthday cake in her hands

75th Anniversary

Celebrating 75 Years of Ubay Community! 

Embark on a journey of joy and nostalgia as we commemorate seven and a half decades of togetherness, resilience, and shared experiences. Join us in a series that unveils the heartwarming stories from our members and staff, weaving a tapestry of memories that reflect the essence of Ubay's vibrant community.
“Growing up in Crump, there were two bars, a barber shop, and one little grocery store. I first met my husband, Robert, at the Crump Fox Club. If you're not local, you won’t know what it is, but it was just a group of young people who would hang out during the summer. We were there, I told him to sit down next to me, and he did.

Today, we’ve been married for 63 years. Marriage takes a lot of hard work. It's not easy. Sometimes it’s a struggle, and a give and take. It’s easy to give up, but you don't, because if something is worth having, it's worth fighting for.

We built a home on his parents’ farm in Linwood, and if you can survive building a home together, you can survive anything. My husband worked at GM, and every day after work, he would work on the house. After we got married, I didn't work outside the home, so during the day I would go to the lumberyard and get supplies. My dad helped us, and we also had a lot of family who helped us finish it up. We lived in the garage until the basement was done, and then moved into the basement until the house was done the following year. We're still living in it, except when we go to Florida for the winter.

I think it was 1957 when my husband joined the credit union, back when I think the only people who were members were GM employees. One of the things that’s kept us here all this time is the service. People are very friendly. If I call and I have a question, even if I'm in Florida, they are always Johnny-on-the-spot about it. A lot of times, those calls were about me adjusting to the computer and banking online. I would call and say, ‘Can you help me walk me through this?’ and they would.

Over the years, I've gotten to know quite a few of the people here. I like that about living in a small community—you get to know people—and that’s something I love about Ubay.”
– Diane Filcek, United Bay Community Credit Union Member
“I always said I wouldn’t be the person to marry their high school sweetheart…and then I did! My husband is one of the reasons we switched to United Bay Community Credit Union. When he started a business, they made it so easy and helped us with everything.

When we were with a bigger bank, it was just one bad experience after another. For example, we had canceled our contract with a phone service provider, and they weren’t supposed to take any more money out of our account. But they did—about two grand, AND my credit card was denied! But when I spoke with the bank to get things fixed, they were not very nice and wouldn’t help me.

There is a United Bay Community Credit Union branch in Pinconning that we had heard good things about, so we switched. That’s when my husband opened his business, Phlash Welding and Fabrication. He makes metal art and does welding, so he gets to be creative and goes to a lot of craft shows. We took out a business loan through United Bay, and Jamie in Pinconning was awesome! She is amazing and now we do all of our loans there. Even with a debt-to-income ratio that is a little high due to my student loans, we have never been turned down because they know us, and we have built a great relationship with them.

I refer so many people here because I have had such a great experience. I tell everyone to come to United Bay because they really do take care of you.”
— Ashley Goick, United Bay Community Credit Union member
“My mother and father ran a credit union out of the basement of our house for Defoe Shipbuilding Company. They built destroyers for the Navy. People would come to the house, sit in the kitchen, and have a cup of coffee and a cigarette while they waited. There were these little pads of paper that if I stamped the credit union's name on them, I got a quarter. They ran the credit union out of the basement until they could afford to purchase a little small manufactured home they put on the shipyard.
I started out here in 1978, and in January, retired after 44 years. I started out as a part-time teller and have worked in the loan department, the collection department, in accounting, and then ended up in mortgages.
I loved mortgages the most, because it was about making people's dreams of owning a home come true. Or if they had an issue with their home, like they need a new furnace, roof, siding, windows, I could help them find a way to get that done.
I remember there was a couple in their late 50s from the Kalamazoo area and they wanted to purchase their first home. They had been trying for several years to purchase something, and weren't able to. They were so sweet to work with, and the kind of members that if you asked for this i to be dotted, it was dotted.
Out of anyone I worked with, they were the most thrilled to get into a home.
There are all kinds of stories I could tell. United Bay Community Credit Union has always been a very good place to work. We’re there for our members. I like the ethics of a credit union, so members don't have to worry about being used to make a profit so the big person upstairs can get their million-dollar bonus. I appreciate that more than anything, it's always for the people. They always find a way to give people a break or do something to help give them a start.”
– Jill Patterson, United Bay Community Credit Union returning retiree
“I found this job on Indeed. I was working at Staples and looking for something that would be better for my future. I found United Bay Community Credit Union, applied, and Michelle called me and said I had an interview if I was interested. She also said that there were three or four other people interviewing for the position, and because I didn’t have any experience in the banking industry, I thought, ‘Oh, there's no way I'm getting this.’
When I came in for the interview, my first impression was that it was BIG. I'm from West Branch and the credit unions around there are all just little, one-story, small buildings with teller stations. I pulled up to the building and was like, ‘This place is huge!’ and I remember internally freaking out because I was like, ‘How am I going to do this?’
But the whole interview process was very comfortable. Michelle and Jessica were both extremely nice, made me feel very welcomed, and explained everything to me, and that made me want the job even more. The next day, they called me back and offered me the position. I took it immediately and put in my two weeks at Staples, and I was really excited to start doing better for myself.
It will be two years in February, and I really like the people that I work with. Everybody that works here is so kind. You can walk up to anybody, even if you’re new, and have a conversation and instantly, it’s like you talk to them regularly.
Being able to help our members is really nice, too. Seeing the joy on their faces when they come in to talk to us is great. I like knowing them by name, learning their story, and what they do. I just love that!”
– Kayla Davis, member service specialist, United Bay Community Credit Union

“My dad was into cars: racing, doing demolition, figure eight, etc., and we would work on cars together. I started at a very young age. We lived on a farm, and we got by fixing what we had. We had to scrounge up equipment, make do, weld it up, grind it, fix it, and put it back together. I think that was the draw of buying a car. I wanted to fix it, tear it apart, see how it’s made, put it back together and clean it up. That was fascinating to me.  I bought my first wreck, fixed it up and drove it for many years with only drive and no reverse, because I didn’t have money for a transmission.

I've been in the industry all my life going from working in a body shop, to being a body shop manager, to teaching at the Bay-Arenac ISD’s Career Center for the last 22 years. I was able to teach my trade to students. I loved that job, and it was probably one of the most rewarding jobs I’ve ever had because you could see the kids progress from when they first arrived to where they were at the end of the year.

But it got to the point where, because of my age and my health, I couldn’t do what I was supposed to do on the floor with students anymore. It's very physical work, and I could tell my time was coming because I was getting more tired. So, I knew it was my time to go.

I found United Bay Community Credit Union when we had my first child in 1986. We went to buy a trailer to live in. Prior to that, I had filed for bankruptcy because I didn't have health insurance and some hospital bills piled up along with a school loan, so when I went to apply for a loan for the trailer, everybody turned me down. They said they couldn’t take a risk on me.

But then I came here.

They said, ‘Well, because you filed for bankruptcy, we have to put you in front of the board, and you’ll need to convince the board that it’s safe to give you a loan.’

So, I came in to meet with the board. As I’m sitting there, the door opens, and three guys come in. The third guy looks at me and says, ‘Hey, how are you doing, Leonard?’

And I said, ‘Hi, Tom!’

I just got done with Tom's car at the body shop I was working at. He got hit in the rear end and I fixed it, repaired it, wrote the estimate, and delivered it. He was happy with my work, and though I didn’t know it at the time, that's how I got to know one of the board members.

 I told him why I was there, so he says, ‘Well, I know where you work, and I know you're working hard there, so you're good. I went through the interview with the board, and they approved the loan.

 – Leonard Fauble, UBCCU member

�� 75 Years of Ubay Joy! �� Join our exclusive series featuring stories from members and staff. Let's celebrate the heart of the Ubay community! ��
“We had an IRA that was coming due, so I started calling around for the best rate, and that’s when I reached Sherry at the United Bay Community Credit Union branch in Pinconning. We live in Bay City, but she was just my kind of person: the good old customer service I was looking for. She was warm and accommodating and just my kind of gal. She was old school. When you get to be my age, you love that! We talked for a bit, and I hung up the phone without scheduling anything because I was going to talk to Randy first. But then I called her right back and said, ‘We're coming in, you're the girl and the one I want to work with.’
She answered all my questions and met my needs. I had a particular rate that I wanted, and she was able to accommodate that. I told her that Pinconning wasn’t that far, but she said that she would come to Bay City to train somebody to open these kinds of accounts. She did, and the Euclid office set up our account.
After that, I was at the nail place in the mall with my sister because she wanted to get her nails done. I didn’t, so I sat in the lobby. A woman walked in, and she sat down next to me. I always visit with people because that's the way I am, and she was like that, too. I told her I used to work at a bank, and she told me she works at a credit union. I asked her which one and she told me it was United Bay Community Credit Union. So, I told her all about Sherry, how she took care of us, how sweet she was, and that I couldn't have asked for better service.
So, I asked her, ‘What do you do at the credit?’
And she said, ‘I'm the CEO.’
The CEO! It was Diane Abbonizio, and she was just as nice as Sherry.
You don't hear a lot of complaints about credit unions. Banks are quite big, and they're getting bigger, and that makes it difficult for them to service their people locally when their main office is in New York or somewhere else.
So, for me, UBAY is about the people, and the kind of people who give that old school kind of customer service.”
– Kathy and Randy Perkins, United Bay Community Credit Union members
“When a member calls into the credit union, I’m one of the people who answers the phone. We want our members to be happy and we want to solve their problems, so we do the best we can to help members directly without transferring the call or putting them on hold.
I've been at the credit union for 31 years. I applied for a job because I was a member, and I always liked the people who worked here. I started out as a teller, then worked in the call center, and then in the loan department. When I had a chance to come back to the call center, it was a tough decision because in the loan department, you’re making people really happy by approving their loans. But in the call center, I enjoy the challenge that comes with working with a variety of problems. Sometimes it’s easy stuff and sometimes it’s hard stuff—every call is different, and you have to know each area of the credit union to get people the answers they need. It's not always easy, but it's very rewarding when you help someone. Even if it's just one person a day who I can make happy by solving their problem, that’s rewarding to me.
The credit union has changed a lot over the years, and that's going to happen anywhere. But there's always been this core environment of closeness with my coworkers. Everybody works well together, and the credit union has treated us well and continues to show that they care about us.
You develop relationships with the members too. A member will say something like, ‘I remember coming to the drive thru back when you were pregnant, how are your kids?’ And I can’t believe they remember that! I’ll ask about their family, and we get to know each other. They appreciate it, I appreciate it, and it makes coming to work easy!”
–Kim Ewald, UBCCU Contact Center Specialist

“The whole idea behind starting a Business Services department was to provide small, local businesses with the resources they need to be successful.

When I first work with a business, it's important for me to be a person who listens. After I set them up with an account, it’s important to get to know them, find out what their journey is, and work to understand what they want to do. We want them to be able to paint their own picture but have the guidance they need to be successful. Running a business can be A LOT, and many times, businesses don't realize all the different ways we can help. For example, if a business is looking to accept debit and credit cards, we might be able to provide them with free equipment or a customized rate to get them started.

 

Working with local businesses has been amazing, and it’s incredibly rewarding when you get to see a business excelling. Take Gilly of Gilly’s Bistro or Greg from That Guy's Barbecue, for example. When you see them do well, knowing you are part of the process feels incredible.

Before this position, I was the biggest introvert possible. I was scared to talk to people, and when I saw big crowds, I felt like I needed to have someone there to hold my hand and help me through it all. But coming into this role, working with people, watching businesses grow and become successful, and knowing I’m a part of that journey with them, gave me the biggest confidence boost. I never really expected it.

 

The Bay City business community is collaborative, and people are open to helping each other out. You see restaurant owners eating at each other's spots. You’d think that it'd be the opposite with your competitors, but everyone wants you to thrive. I've never felt that anywhere. It's almost addicting, seeing everyone helping each other out, and you want to be part of that movement. It has just been awesome, and is definitely rewarding, for sure.

 

My favorite thing about working here is they give you a voice. No matter what your role is, no matter what your department is – everyone wants to hear what you have to say. Management has been very supportive, and if you come in with an idea, they say, ‘Let's hear it. ’ I've never had that in other places, and now that I do, I feel supported in whatever I do.

 

Working here is rewarding, for sure.”

 

– Tino Deleon, business account specialist, United Bay Community Credit Union

“We opened our account with United Bay Community Credit Union in 1960. They had started a Christmas club where they would take a certain amount out of your paycheck and set it aside so you can buy Christmas gifts later. At the time, we had just started having kids, and that’s what got us interested, so we joined.

 

We didn't have too many loans; we watched our P's and Qs,and didn’t like borrowing money. We built our own house, too. Every payday, we would use some of the money to buy some materials and set them aside. Eventually, we had enough material to start building, and with help from our friends, we got it done. We've had some tough times, but we got through it. We didn't do it separately, we did it together.”

 

—Anzy & Raymond Mielke, United Bay Community Credit Union members

Before she passed, my sister kept telling me that after I recovered from my surgery and beat the odds, I should get a dog. So, one morning, I was looking on the internet and saw someone was selling an Australian Shepherd puppy. I didn’t even know what an Australian Shepherd was—I just knew that we were looking for a puppy.

So, we met up with them, and I will tell you that as soon as they put that dog in my arms, I knew they weren’t getting her back. But puppies are expensive, so we stopped at the credit union to get everything we needed.

I have a friend who said, ‘The right dog will come to you,’ and that’s what happened with our Shelly. A week or two later, while I was looking at a picture, we took the day we first got her, I noticed the date: February 22nd.

My mom’s birthday.

We became United Bay Community Credit Union members as soon as we graduated from high school. Our dad was a member of United Bay and always said, ‘Get to know the people at the credit union and they will become your best friends.’ And he was right. The customer service is wonderful. As soon as we walk through the doors, we are greeted by our first names, and we’ve never had a bad experience.

After we bought everything, we needed for Shelly, I took her right back into the credit union and took pictures of her at United Bay to remember the day. The girls loved her, and they wanted the pictures, too!

United Bay goes above and beyond, in a way you can’t find anywhere else.”
–Marilynne and Michael Warden, United Bay Community Credit Union members

My name is Mary Kay. But when my grandkids' friends turn 18, I say ‘‘you can call me MK’ and they feel very proud.

 

I was born in Bay City, and I've lived in Standish almost all my life—a city girl who married a country boy. My late husband, Norm, joined United Bay Community Credit Union in 1968, and I became a member when we got married in 1970. I was blessed to stay home with our kids while he worked, until our youngest was in kindergarten.

 

He passed away in 2010 and it was a shock. Not only was there the pain of losing my husband, financially there was so much to go through, and it was overwhelming having so many decisions to make.

But I remember sitting with Sherry at the Credit Union, and she said, ‘You got this.’ She’s a very special lady. I listened to her and her suggestions, but I never felt pressured. (It wouldn’t have mattered—I’m old school, and if I don’t want to do something, I don’t!) But I never felt like she was trying to make me do something, and I always had the final say. She was just awesome.

 

My kids have accounts here, too. Everyone is so friendly. I always enjoy going inside: I’ll comment on the decorating and how clean it is and they treat me like a queen.

 

– Mary Kay Mielke, UBAYCCU Member

 

P.S. I’m 76…but I’m not bored! Look at my sweatshirt—I'm a sports lady! Growing up, my dad loved baseball and that rubbed off on me. I keep my own stats for all the games I go to. Like for my grandkids, I have stat sheets for all their games in envelopes and they go in a big tote.

When my husband and I got married, my family didn’t go hunting or fishing or anything like that, but he did. And now I do! I got the biggest buck two years ago. We have a hunting camp: my son and daughter-in-law and the grandkids and we have a lot of fun. They were just so proud of me.

It was a 13-pointer. They say you can’t count the little ones…but I did!

“After my children became old enough, I wanted to get back to full-time work, and that’s when I found out about a job at United Bay Community Credit Union. It was a part-time job, but I really wanted to work at the credit union, so I worked two part-time jobs for a year. When I was hired full time, I was relieved, both for the work and because I wouldn’t have to put so many miles on my ‘71 Nova anymore. It had such a bad motor that I was putting oil in it about as often as I put gas in!

This is my 32nd year United Bay Community Credit Union. I love my job, but I love it more knowing that the members love me. I have a file full of thank you’s and letters from members, and it makes me feel good.

 

This credit union cares about people. I help people with their finances, and the best way to do that is to listen. Have a conversation, really listen to what they're saying, and if it’s appropriate, offer advice. It’s important to respect people, and in turn, they have respect for you.

 

I worked with a young gentleman, maybe in his late 20s, who had just lost his mom. He didn’t have a job, just had a baby, and during the pregnancy, his significant other experienced some serious complications.

 

He came into the office overwhelmed: he didn’t have an account, didn’t know what to do with the money he received from his mom’s life insurance, and was totally lost.

So I opened him an account and we worked through what to do: we made sure he had money set aside for rent, necessary purchases like a car, and money invested so he wouldn’t spend it all right away.


Then we talked about finding a job. He told me what he liked to do, and I told him that a place down the road was looking for an employee. He went there…and got a job!

 

He walked in, lost and overwhelmed, but when he walked out, he was just so happy..”

 

—Sherry Lightner, United Bay Community Credit Union

“From the day we started with United Bay Community Credit Union, everything has been right. I think we joined the first week they opened a branch in Mattawan in 2004, and we just absolutely love the people. We met Ben and Carrie—my one-year-old had such a crush on her!—and Bridgette, and they were so great.

We had lived in our old house for 30 years, and we always wanted to live in a farmhouse. We knew going through Bridgette that everything was going to be perfect, because she is just perfection.

We probably looked at 30 different houses, and during the process, anytime we had a question, Bridgette was on it—she never let us hang. Things were always explained to us in ways we could understand them. She’s awesome, gave us a great rate, and she even came to our signing and helped me through my little breakdown of leaving our old home.

Since then, we have taken out a lot of loans through United Bay: four car loans, a consolidation loan, and a couple of personal loans as well. It has always been the same experience: everything is explained, everything is right. I walk in and I know everything is going to be taken care of.

Besides that, when we go into UBAYCCU, it’s like going to someone’s home. We know all of the clerks by name. They know our whole family, and we even bring our dogs in there sometimes. It’s more than a credit union, it’s a home.”

–Christine and Gerrit Schouwburg, United Bay Community Credit Union members

“I grew up all over the United States because my dad was in the natural gas industry: wherever he was needed, that’s where we went. Eventually, I got a job working at a bank in Spokane, Washington, and worked there for 12 years.  But I had been wanting to move back to Michigan. It’s where my family is from—and after 2020, we all realized how important it was to be close to each other. My dad had moved back to Coleman after he retired, and that’s where our family farm has been for four generations.

I had been wanting to move back, but coming from a big city like Spokane to the tiny town of Coleman, I didn’t know what to expect in terms of employment. But then one day, my family called and said that a new credit union was opening in Coleman: United Bay Community Credit Union had announced they were opening a branch there. I contacted them, and got a job.

I’ve been with the credit union for over a year, and this has been exactly what I needed. I needed to come home and to feel like I was in a place where I belong. Coleman had lost their financial institution before United Bay came in to save the day, so we’re part of a community who’s excited to have us here.

Building relationships has always been my focus, and I get to do that here. We make sure that every member has an amazing experience when they walk in our door: they’re greeted, acknowledged, listened to, and offered solutions. It’s more than just money—it’s about people—and that’s what I wanted.  I get excited because I get to inspire the staff, build relationships with our members, and support our community.”        

–Emily Burgess, United Bay Community Credit Union Branch Manager

Mario Williams is my mechanic and also a dear friend. When I was purchasing a car back in December of 2022, he inspected the vehicle and determined that she was seaworthy and good to go. I mentioned to him how displeased I was with the credit union that I was considering doing business with because their interest rate was not acceptable to me. I am retired from the banking business, but I was in corporate banking and institutional trust for over 15 years, so when I was quoted a ridiculous interest rate, I balked at it. I was telling Mario about that, and he said, ‘Oh my gosh, Mindy, you have got to call Molly Chase at United Bay Community Credit Union. She will take such good care of you.’

He gave me her number right there at his mechanic shop, and I called Molly. I introduced myself, told her what I wanted to do, and what my preferred monthly payment would be because I am on Social Security Disability. I am disabled: I have major depressive disorder, which is treatment resistant, and anxiety disorder. Both are managed mostly by my medication, but I do go through major depressive episodes which are completely debilitating for me, so I have a limited fixed income to work with. That also means that finding a payment that would be affordable for me was very important.

And right there over the phone, Molly took the loan application, and later that day, she called me with an approval, and I got a great rate.

But the story goes on because I made some referrals of direct family members, which had very favorable outcomes and I've made a bunch of referrals of friends who I understand are now customers of United Bay.

She was able to help my son buy his first car, even without a credit history.

My niece had a more complex situation because she was pretty heavily in debt with quite a few credit cards. But Molly was able to pull a rabbit out of a hat by refinancing my niece’s car and putting together a debt consolidation loan for her.

And at the end of that loan closing, my niece said ‘Molly, we have something for you,’ went out to the car and brought Molly flowers, chocolates, and a card. We all had tears in our eyes, because Molly had taken a situation that appeared to my niece to be insurmountable and made it all manageable and understandable.”

—Mindy Kulasa, UBAYCCU member
















“After my children became old enough, I wanted to get back to full-time work, and that’s when I found out about a job at United Bay Community Credit Union. It was a part-time job, but I really wanted to work at the credit union, so I worked two part-time jobs for a year. When I was hired full time, I was relieved, both for the work and because I wouldn’t have to put so many miles on my ‘71 Nova anymore. It had such a bad motor that I was putting oil in it about as often as I put gas in!

This is my 32nd year United Bay Community Credit Union. I love my job, but I love it more knowing that the members love me. I have a file full of thank you’s and letters from members, and it makes me feel good.

 

This credit union cares about people. I help people with their finances, and the best way to do that is to listen. Have a conversation, really listen to what they're saying, and if it’s appropriate, offer advice. It’s important to respect people, and in turn, they have respect for you.

 

I worked with a young gentleman, maybe in his late 20s, who had just lost his mom. He didn’t have a job, just had a baby, and during the pregnancy, his significant other experienced some serious complications.

 

He came into the office overwhelmed: he didn’t have an account, didn’t know what to do with the money he received from his mom’s life insurance, and was totally lost.

So I opened him an account and we worked through what to do: we made sure he had money set aside for rent, necessary purchases like a car, and money invested so he wouldn’t spend it all right away.


Then we talked about finding a job. He told me what he liked to do, and I told him that a place down the road was looking for an employee. He went there…and got a job!

 

He walked in, lost and overwhelmed, but when he walked out, he was just so happy..”

 

—Sherry Lightner, United Bay Community Credit Union