Volunteer Federal makes a priority of our communities’ economic and social well-being
Fundraisers benefit local causes and families in need, while our manpower and donations keep us actively involved in local youth sports, civic clubs, community services, business associations, and charitable organizations. You might find our personnel during non-work hours as volunteer firefighters, youth sports coaches, and in other roles which benefit their towns. For several years Volunteer Federal employees have organized various creative projects and events to raise money for Relay for Life, the main volunteer-driven cancer fundraising event of the American Cancer Society. We witness the true significance of our local involvement when our customers pitch in and work right alongside us, generously donating their own goods, services and hours. Look for our bold orange “Wiener Wagon,” serving hot dogs and snacks at our high school homecomings, holiday celebrations, parades, and other fun local events.
Our History In the Monroe County Community
In 1973, several prominent local businessmen saw the need to provide financing for real estate purchases within Monroe County. Up until this time, there were no local lenders in the area who would make long term loans. For the largest personal investment most local residents would make in their lifetimes, financing could only be obtained in a neighboring county, and oftentimes folks had to travel as far as Knoxville to get a home loan.
These pioneering businessmen saw an opportunity and took the initiative to establish a savings and loan association in Monroe County, for Monroe County. This insightful group included Charles Hall, John Hammontree, Gene Hicks, Stanley Pickering, Sr., Bobby Richesin, Charles Sloan, and Kendred White.
In August 1973, Volunteer Federal was organized in a mobile office on Warren Street in Madisonville, the county seat. It was started with $1.5 million in assets, pledged by the community and the seven founding members, who became the board of directors. Volunteer Federal became the first Savings and Loan institution in Monroe County to provide financing for land and home purchases. The response and support was very positive.
Upon receiving its FDIC insurance of accounts in early 1974, Volunteer Federal was able to start accepting deposits. Business was conducted from a humble rented one-room office between the old Post Office and Sheets Dry Goods Store on Main Street in Madisonville. A warehouse-type room behind the office served as the boardroom. In those days – before computers – all account ledgers were kept on paper. Banking was conducted very differently than it is today, but the hometown focus and philosophy of maintaining quality assets and a strong capital reserve became well established foundations for Volunteer Federal.
Volunteer Federal grew steadily – in fact, since 1974 the bank has never had a single losing quarter, even in its first year. As the business grew, the need became apparent for more space. Expansion into surrounding business space began with the purchase of the Sheets Building in 1980. By 1990, Volunteer Federal’s main branch occupied 4,500 sq.ft. of remodeled space, with its drive-up window where the old Post Office had stood, and parking where its original rented office had been located. A Consumer Loan Division had been opened in Sweetwater, the Tellico Plains branch was operating from a mobile facility, and a branch was opened to serve Vonore/Greenback customers.
Volunteer Federal Today
Today, Volunteer Federal’s main branch encompasses the entire block at the corner of Main St. and College St., and is part of the thriving downtown business district of Madisonville. Six Volunteer Federal branches now serve the county as its oldest locally owned financial institution. Being the “Hometown Bank” was the idea Volunteer Federal was founded on, and remains the bank’s main focus. The entire banking family appreciates the support of customers, friends, and its own employees, for the continued strength and success of the institution.
Volunteer Federal has always given back to its community, putting customers and the betterment of the local area at the top of its priority list. Support of schools, clubs, and other organizations has been a big part of the bank’s involvement. They have celebrated the good times and have stepped forward with needed support when times were not so good.
Over the years, the bank’s leaders and employees have participated in the community in a wide spectrum of activities. Some projects have had high visibility, but a larger number include “unseen” involvement – sponsorships, contributions, manpower, volunteer hours, and aid to a host of worthwhile causes. Volunteer Federal is dedicated to continuous support of education, arts, sports, and economic development programs in Monroe County. Strong communities are the result of working together, and this outlook has dictated Volunteer Federal’s participation in programs such as:
- Monroe County Chamber of Commerce and Downtown Association Memberships and Leadership
- Industrial Development Board of the Tellico Reservoir Development Agency (TRDA)
- Support and Leadership for Monroe County United Way
- Support of Volunteer Fire Departments
- Sponsorship of youth civic and sports groups and programs
- Support of agricultural and 4-H programs
- Involvement in health fairs
- Monroe County Habitat for Humanity
- Community Christmas celebrations
- Tornado Relief Drop Site and Funds Donated for Renovation from damages
- Since 1987 – Support of Scholars Bowl at local high school
- PTO organization support
- Public Libraries and Summer Reading Programs
- Hiwassee College Scholarships, Financial Support for Facility Improvements
- College Loans through Tennessee Educational Asset Management Program
- Support of the Arts and Humanities – Monroe Area Council for the Arts (MACA) and Sweetwater Valley Citizens for the Arts
- American Cancer Society Relay for Life
- Grassroots Bring Home the Guard Campaign
- Wiener Wagon Program