File Photo

Verso employees begin calling credit union for help

File Photo
Kyle Casburn, president of Seaboard Federal Credit Union

BUCKSPORT — Seaboard Federal Credit Union customers who work at the Verso mill have already begun calling for help.

“We’ve already had phone calls from folks this morning looking to consolidate debt,” Kyle Casburn, president and chief executive officer of Seaboard, said Thursday, the day after the announcement of the mill’s pending closure.

Casburn has two messages for customers.

The first is that the credit union’s primary focus will be helping customers through the coming months.

The second message is that “we are absolutely financially solid and have no doubt we will weather this with flying colors.”

“We are here to serve our members in times of need and we are formulating strategies now to determine how we can best help our members in the coming months,” Casburn said. “That’s our first and foremost priority.”

The credit union took steps several years ago to reduce the effect an event such as the mill closing would have.

“We diversified our charter actually 10 years ago to Hancock County and in 2008 we diversified to four counties, including Washington, Waldo and Penobscot,” Casburn said. Those moves were designed to help the credit union mitigate its dependence on the mill for business.

Mill employees founded the credit union in 1940 and Seaboard remained an employer-based credit union until 2004 when it expanded its charter to allow anyone who worked or lived in Hancock County to join.

Broadening the credit union’s membership to the other counties “allowed us to diversify our book of business significantly,” he said.

“The credit union has over $10 million in reserves and being a member-owned cooperative, we are financially solid and have the resources to withstand any of the challenges that might face us in the coming months,” Casburn said.

Casburn expects to hear from more employees as they learn from Verso what type of severance package to expect.

“Then people will come to us for counseling,” he said.

Jennifer Osborn

Jennifer Osborn

Reporter and columnist at The Ellsworth American
News Reporter Jennifer Osborn covers news and features on the Blue Hill Peninsula and Deer Isle-Stonington. She welcomes tips and story ideas. She also writes the Gone Shopping column. Email Jennifer with your suggestions at [email protected] or call 667-2576.
Jennifer Osborn

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