As the current Horizon Credit Union facility tranforms into a Sullivan County “tag office,” the credit union with a new branch built nearby four years ago is looking to expand into more underserved locations.
Horizon CEO Beverly Boling confirmed, as reported Friday from a Thursday night Sullivan County Commission meeting, that the Sullivan County Clerk's Office will purchase the downtown location of Horizon Credit Union. The county will take possession of the building at 408 Clay St. this spring and convert it to use as an office that will issue license plates and various licenses. Boling said the Horizon branch likely would close March 13, although that could be subject to change.
The clerk’s office is leaving the current city hall, from which municipal offices are relocating to the old Regions Bank building near Church Circle. The county closed the trustee’s office in city hall last year.
The Clay Street Horizon building is between Pal’s Sudden Service and Chef’s Pizza.
"When we opened our new headquarters located at 1201 N. Eastman Road in Kingsport in 2016, we knew we had two locations minutes apart and that at some point we would need to merge the Clay Street branch into the Eastman Road branch. Not long ago, Sullivan County approached us with interest in purchasing the (Clay Street) building, and it fits perfectly with our vision for our members,” Boling said in a Friday news release.
Boling said in a Friday afternoon interview that the credit union is a “low-income community certified credit union” and that Horizon officials had wanted to exit the facility for a while but didn’t want to leave an empty building downtown.
“We knew the buildings were too close together,” Boling said.
The Eastman Road location has three stories of space, she added.
Established in 1932 as the Municipal Employees Credit Union, the local credit union merged in 1999 with Kingsport Postal and Federal Employees Credit Union and changed its name to First Kingsport Credit Union. A merger with AGC Credit Union in 2014 resulted in another name change and two additional branches in 2016. Horizon Credit Union today serves more than 6,000 members.
“The board of directors decided the sale of this building will help enable our vision for Horizon Credit Union to expand. This opportunity will allow us to better serve our members as we consider new locations in underserved areas of the community,” Horizon board chair Cindy Humphrey said in the release.
Boling said the Horizon service area is from Sullivan County at the state line in Bristol to Baileyton in Greene County and Rogersville in Hawkins County.
All Clay Street branch employees will transfer to other Horizon locations, the release said.