Nusenda Credit Union on Herrera Drive

A rendering of the Nusenda Credit Union branch planned on Herrera Drive near the Walmart Supercenter.

Nusenda Credit Union will have both ends of Santa Fe covered by the end of 2022 after operating here for 13 years with a single location.

New Mexico’s largest credit union will take over the former Wells Fargo Bank location at DeVargas Center. Nusenda also is in the initial stages of building a south-side branch at 5621 Herrera Drive, across from Christus St. Vincent Entrada Contenta Health Center and near the Walmart Supercenter.

Nusenda has had a single branch in Santa Fe on St. Michael’s Drive since 2009 and before that had opened a branch inside La Montañita Co-op in 2008.

“We’ve had a lot of demand from our members in Santa Fe for more locations,” said Mike Buehler, Nusenda’s executive vice president of finance and lending.

The two new locations in Santa Fe follow Nusenda opening its first Southern New Mexico branch in July in Las Cruces. Nusenda has 23 branches in Albuquerque, Santa Fe, Rio Rancho, Las Cruces, Socorro, Taos and Valencia and has 235,000 members and $3.7 billion in assets, Buehler said.

Nusenda has had the largest membership in the state for a number of years and attained top assets in September 2020, Buehler said.

Nusenda has more than 10,000 members in Santa Fe.

“We were a fairly Albuquerque-centric credit union,” Buehler said. “Then we expanded geographically.”

Nusenda was founded in 1936 as Albuquerque Public Schools Federal Credit Union and later became New Mexico Educators Federal Credit Union. The Nusenda name took hold in 2015.

Nusenda acquired the 1.2-acre pad on Herrera Drive in 2019, while the DeVargas Center location fell in its lap in the past year.

Wells Fargo had closed its 502 N. Guadalupe St. branch in March 2020 during the first coronavirus lockdown and never reopened it. The ATM, however, remained operational until Wells Fargo officially closed the branch in November 2020.

“We’ve been looking for spaces in Santa Fe for a couple years now,” Buehler said. “We’ve been looking for property on either side of town. The DeVargas location became available and we were made aware of it. The DeVargas Center any time of day is just so busy.”

Nusenda started demolition work inside the former Wells Fargo a couple of weeks ago with intentions of having the branch open in March or April.

“We’re doing quite a bit inside it,” Buehler said. “That bank has not been upgraded for 30 years.”

The 2,000-square-foot DeVargas branch will have no traditional teller windows but rather two self-serve Zippy Express Tellers and five financial consultants to help at the express tellers and do loans and other transactions. The existing drive-thru video tellers and ATM stations will be restored.

The 5,300-square-foot Herrera branch will have three Zippy tellers and possibly a couple of human teller windows as well as a drive-up ATM and two video tellers. Opening is planned for October.

“We just felt like that’s where our members were,” Buehler said about the south side. “We want to be where they are.”

The architect for the Herrera branch is Joe Slagle Architect of Albuquerque. Enterprise Builders of Albuquerque is the general contractor.

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