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April 12, 2021
12 Apr 2021

A Look Back on Education First: Celebrating 85 Years of Serving Ohio Educators & School Employees

Education First was founded in the 1930s as the Columbus Ohio Teachers Federal Credit Union. The Credit Union opened its doors for business in February 1936 – or rather its kitchen door, because in the beginning days of the Credit Union, Education First operated from founder Herb William’s kitchen on the West Side of Columbus.

Herb Williams

(Pictured Left: Founder Herb Williams.)

Herb Williams was a Columbus educator and school administrator with a vision to create a credit union for local educators – where teachers and school workers could bond together to help each other save and borrow rather than using a bank. Columbus school employees in need of a loan would go talk to Herb and be approved for their loan over a handshake.

“A story I always tell about the early days of the Credit Union is the story of when my son was born,” says Norm Landry, who joined Education First in 1956 as a young Columbus Public school teacher at the recommendation of his mother-in-law, a school secretary.

In 1959, his son Brett was born with severe jaundice and in need of an emergency blood transfusion.

“In those days, a Columbus teacher’s insurance didn’t cover newborns. Brett was taken to Children’s Hospital where he was given two blood transfusions.”

When it was time for the baby’s release, it was also time to pay.

“We needed $500,” says Norm.

He called the Credit Union. “C’mon over,” he was told by Education First’s founder Herb Williams. Even though it was after regular banking hours, Norm was given the $500 loan from William’s kitchen table and took his baby son home that day.

The Credit Union soon outgrew Herb William’s kitchen and moved its headquarters to the Seneca Hotel in Downtown Columbus.

Seneca Hotel

(Pictured above: the Seneca Hotel)


Former Columbus Public school teacher, Johnetta Collins recalls getting her first loan from the Credit Union at the Seneca Hotel in 1962. She had just graduated from The Ohio State University and was excited to begin her teaching career with Columbus Public Schools, but there was one problem; she would need a car to get there.

Her sister Barbara, whose husband was also a Columbus Public teacher, suggested the Credit Union.

“Herb Williams came to my rescue,” says Johnetta.

The Credit Union granted Johnetta her very first loan at the age of 21 from the Seneca Hotel, allowing her to drive to her first teaching position at Roosevelt Junior High School in her dream car, a 1959 Thunderbird.

Now Johnetta’s next hurdle was to get her driver’s license.

“Because of Herb’s trust, I learned to drive that summer in my high-powered T-Bird,” says Johnetta. “I made my first payment with my very first paycheck at the end of September! Now, what bank would have approved that in those days?”

The Credit Union’s next move was to an official branch. Located at 399 Livingston Avenue in the heart of Columbus’ German Village, this branch would serve Education First until 2018!

First Branch
(Pictured left: The first official branch of the Credit Union)

Many credit union members recall going to the Livingston branch on their lunch break during the school day.

Over the years, the Credit Union continued to expand throughout Central Ohio, with branches opening in Reynoldsburg, Westerville, and Downtown Columbus.




Credit Union

(Pictured above: The Credit Union’s Livingston branch in 2017, formerly located in German Village)

“From the beginning, Education First has always been member-centered, local, and more involved with the community than a bank,” says Henry Bland, now an Education First Board Member. Henry’s parents were some of the first members of the Credit Union in the 1930s.

In the 1970s, Henry, a Columbus City Schools English teacher, married his college sweetheart, Theresa, a computer teacher. They were starting out their teaching careers and married life together and opened a joint account with Education First. Herb Williams personally sat down with the young couple and gave them free financial counseling.

“Herb took the time to explain to us how credit worked and give us some financial advice,” says Henry. “The Credit Union has always been about education, not just lending money, but explaining how the whole process works.”


(Pictured above: Downtown Headquarters Ribbon Cutting Ceremony in 2018)


From Education First’s humble beginnings in the 1930s, a lot has changed.

In 1936, the average annual income was $1,506, the average price of a new home was $5,972, and the average price of a new car was $630. And, gas was $0.19 a gallon. But one thing hasn’t changed since 1936 – the Credit Union’s dedication to serving Ohio educators and school workers. For 85 years, Education First remains a member-owned, not-for-profit financial institution working in the best interest of Ohio educators.

We are honored to be celebrating the last 85 years of people helping people Thank you for being a member of Education First!


(Pictured above: A New Chapter: 2021 Groundbreaking for a new branch on the East Side of Columbus)


Education First Credit Union staff through the years:

Cindy 4

Cindy 7

DaneAngie 6Dinner 2



April 2, 2021
02 Apr 2021

Youth Month Coloring Contest

Ready. Set. Color! For a chance to win $25! 🖍

April is Credit Union Youth Month and Education First is celebrating with a Coloring Contest, (ages 12 and under may enter).

Download the printable coloring sheet here:

Snap a pic of your finished coloring sheet and post it below or email it to Or you can snail mail it to 510 E. Mound St. Columbus, OH 43215 or scan your picture and email it. Whatever works! Please write your name and age on your completed sheet.

Two winners will be chosen May 7, 2021. Some restrictions may apply. $25.00 will be deposited into the winners ABC Account.

April 2, 2021
02 Apr 2021

April is Credit Union Youth Month!

It’s National Credit Union Youth Month and to celebrate, we are encouraging kids to develop healthy saving habits by making savings fun and exciting! Be a credit union saver and your savings will never go extinct! 🦖

In the month of April, ABC members who deposit $10 or more in their ABC Account have a chance to win $25!

Don’t have an ABC Account yet?

Our ABC Accounts are a great way to teach kids about saving money!  These accounts are specifically for children under the age of 12 yrs. old. For every $10.00 deposit made, kids earn ABC Bucks, which can be used to purchase prizes when redeemed. Kids also earn ABC Bucks on their birthday and when opening their account. And at the age of 13, the account automatically becomes a Teen Advantage Club Account.

March 29, 2021
29 Mar 2021

Tell Us YOUR Story

Tell us YOUR story.

Meet Wanjiku, a member since 2017 …

Before Wanjiku was a member of Education First, she would often drive by the Credit Union’s Westerville Branch on her way to work. The name “Education First” appealed to her. She was intrigued by the idea that there was a credit union specifically for educators.

“I would always drive by your Westerville branch,” she says. “And one day, I walked in and joined. I was a student at the time, earning my master’s degree at OSU, and I needed a checking and savings account. I liked the idea of a credit union for teachers and students that actively helped people in education.”

Wanjiku appreciates many of Education First’s products, but it was a car loan last November that really solidified her belief in the Credit Union.

“I had the best experience getting my car loan with the Credit Union,” she says. “I applied online, and it was easy and quick. Jason called me immediately. He was very helpful and walked me through the loan process step by step.”

Education First relationship officer, Jason, pre-approved Wanjiku for her auto loan, and then she was on her way to finding her car.

“It took me until January to find a car that fit my budget,” says Wanjiku. “One thing that I appreciated was that Jason would periodically check in with me and ask me how the process was going, no pressure, just ‘How’s it going?’ “

So, the day Wanjiku found the car she wanted, she called Jason.

“He gave me valuable information that I have never gotten before,” says Wanjiku. “This wasn’t my first experience buying a car, but it was the first time I had someone take the time to give me advice and tips on how to get the best deal on a car; how to talk to the dealer to get the optimal price and experience.”

“The dealers knew I had someone in my corner,” says Wanjiku. “I came in with all the leg work already done, and I feel that made them respect me more. To me, that was the best part – knowing that I was prepared.”

Wanjiku says that some documents needed to be signed in Reynoldsburg to close the loan after she bought her new car, but she had a busy day at work ahead of her and couldn’t make it.

“Jason was willing to drive to the Westerville branch, which is right across the street from my work so that I could just drop off the documents during my lunch break. I really appreciate his flexibility and willingness to work around my schedule.”

Wanjiku says she’s used banks in the past, but after her car loan experience with Education First, she is sold on credit unions.

“For once, I felt like I had someone in my corner, someone with my financial best interest at heart,” she says. “That’s the biggest difference to me between a credit union and a bank.”

Wanjiku says that based on her experience if she ever needs a loan in the future, she will definitely be going through the Credit Union.

“And I am telling everyone I know too!” she says, “I recommend the Credit Union to everyone.”


March 17, 2021
17 Mar 2021

Tell Us YOUR Story

Tell us YOUR story.

Meet Jacob, a member since 2021 …

Jacob’s first exposure to Education First was when he began teaching Spanish at a Columbus middle school last year.

“I saw something about Education First on the Columbus City School’s website,” he says. I always look through the staff website for any local partnerships or discounts that the school district may have, and there was the Credit Union.”

Originally from Kansas City, Jacob relocated to Ohio recently when his husband’s job transferred them to Columbus. Prior to joining Education First, Jacob was a member of a local credit union from his hometown and says that he’s noticed credit unions offer a more personal experience than banks.

“I’ve always had better luck with credit unions,” says Jacob. “Banks feel cold and impersonal. And I prefer using small, local business over big corporations whenever possible.”

It was an auto loan that prompted Jacob to join Education First.

“I was buying a new car and noticed the rates from Education First were low,” he says.

Education First relationship officer Jason helped walk Jacob through the process.

“It was obvious that Jason was member-focused and ready to help,” says Jacob. “You can tell Jason is super busy, but when you are in his office, he is totally focused on you, answering questions, and taking as long as you need. He is a real human being, not an automated service.”

Jacob’s positive experience with his car loan has prompted him to consider Education First for future loans.

“My husband and I would like to refinance our home either this spring or summer,” he says. “We would like to get the best rate possible, and that most likely means using the Credit Union.”

Jacob says he will definitely be recommending Education First to his co-workers and fellow teachers.

“The best thing about joining a credit union is feeling taken care of,” he says. “Like you have someone in your corner financially.”

March 17, 2021
17 Mar 2021

Construction Begins at New East Side Branch.

Education First held a groundbreaking ceremony on Friday, celebrating the start of construction on our new East Side Branch.

The new branch will be located at 5950 Carnaby Way, Columbus, Ohio 43213. Our board members and executive team symbolically broke ground and now construction on the branch is underway!

March 5, 2021
05 Mar 2021

Tell Us YOUR Story

Tell us YOUR story

Meet Lovie, a member since 2001 …

When Lovie, a 6th-grade teacher with Columbus City Schools, wanted to do something special for her students this Christmas, she knew she could turn to her credit union for help.

“It was kind of a strange request,” she laughs. “I thought it would be fun to give my students $2 bills because I figured many kids have never seen a $2 bill before.”

Education First’s Reynoldsburg branch provided Lovie with all the $2 bills she needed and more.

“My students were very appreciative,” says Lovie. “Some said, ‘Oh, I’m saving my $2 bill!’ They were just so excited. I love that the Credit Union was able to help me make that happen. It’s the little things, especially during the pandemic, that make the most of the teaching experience and lets the kids know that we really care about them.”

Lovie joined Education First in 2001 when she was a first-year teacher with Columbus City Schools.

“And it’s been one of the best decisions I’ve ever made,” she says.

Lovie’s mentor, Mrs. Collins, an experienced teacher, advised her to join the Credit Union because Education First was more likely to understand a young teacher’s needs than a larger bank.

“I was coming directly from college. I had gone from my undergraduate degree at Winston-Salem State University straight into getting my master’s at OSU, so as you can imagine, I had some student loans!”

Lovie has since used Education First’s unique Classroom Supply Loan; a zero percent interest loan specifically designed to help teachers stock their classrooms.

“I like that it is a zero percent loan because many teachers are paying for school supplies out of pocket,” says Lovie, adding that now that some teachers are returning to the classroom, additional cleaning supplies may be added to their list due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

When it comes to paying back loans, Lovie says she appreciates that Education First has the option of setting up bi-monthly payments, making paying back loans more manageable.

“Some banks will only give you the option of paying once a month, but a bi-weekly option that corresponds with my pay schedule is the easiest for me. I found that the Credit Union is very accommodating with my Columbus City Schools pay schedule in general.

Over the years, Lovie says she has consistently found that Education First helps her make sound financial decisions. She notes that it’s the personal relationships and longevity that count when contemplating making large purchases like a home or new vehicle rather than securing hefty loans that may not be in the member’s best interest.

“The Credit Union staff members I’ve worked with seem to really care about me as a person. It doesn’t seem like they are trying to get loans approved no matter what. Instead, they look at your financial portfolio to make sure that you aren’t taking out more than you actually need. I feel like I am more of a personal investment to them, not just a number.”

She recently went to a different Education First branch than she usually uses and worked with Jason, an Education First relationship officer, for the first time.

“Jason took the time to help me make a sound financial decision – and he put me in touch with a financial advisor who could look into some other long terms investments. I definitely felt like I left with more knowledge than I had come in with. It was a great experience.”

Today, Lovie’s daughter, a college student, is now also a member of Education First.

“She is doing a great job saving already,” says Lovie. “She’s off to a great start with the Credit Union.”


January 21, 2021
21 Jan 2021

When should I refinance my auto loan?

Refinancing your auto loan can help bring down your monthly costs or reduce your interest rate. Be sure to crunch the numbers before applying in order to find the best deal for you.

Are you unhappy with your current auto loan? Maybe it’s time to consider refinancing.
The principle behind auto loan refinancing is simple: You take on a new loan to pay off the balance on your existing auto loan. If you’re struggling with a high interest rate or an unaffordable monthly payment, refinancing could be the key to finding better, more favorable terms.

Refinancing your auto loan could help lower your monthly payments by lengthening the term of your repayment. Or it could help you save money through a lower interest rate.

Consider refinancing if …

You want a better interest rate

You might want to consider refinancing if interest rates have dropped since you took out your current loan or if your credit health has improved.

You financed your current auto loan through a dealership

Dealerships may not offer you the best rates available. If you took out your loan through a dealer — especially without negotiating the interest rate — refinancing could potentially save you thousands of dollars over the remaining life of the loan.

You want lower monthly payments

Are you having a difficult time covering your monthly payment?

Refinancing for a longer term can bring down your monthly costs and make balancing your checkbook more manageable.

The answer depends on your individual situation, but let’s say your current loan balance is $20,000 at a 6% interest rate with a five-year (60-month) payoff time frame.

Keep in mind that while lower monthly payments may help you in the short term, a longer-term loan could put you at more financial risk. You may be stuck paying off a large portion of your loan after your car’s value has significantly depreciated.

If your immediate goal is to reduce your monthly expenses, an auto loan refinance could still be a good choice. Consider refinancing now but increasing your monthly payment once your financial situation has improved.

You can always enter your desired loan terms into an online debt repayment calculator to see if refinancing could reduce your monthly payments and how much your total interest cost could decrease.

You won’t be penalized for repaying your existing loan

Refinancing your auto loan means paying off your existing loan early. This could be a problem if your existing loan contract includes a prepayment penalty clause.

Take a look at your contract to see if you’ll be charged fees for early repayment. Before applying for auto refinancing, make sure to crunch the numbers so you can determine whether prepayment fees would cancel out the financial benefit of refinancing.


When is the right time to refinance?

When your credit health has improved

Your credit scores are a factor in determining your auto loan rate. If your scores have gone up since you bought the car, and you’ve made on-time car payments, you might get a better rate, which could save you money in interest over the life of the loan.

Lenders may use your FICO® Auto Scores or base credit scores to help determine your creditworthiness. But no matter which they use, better credit scores can indicate to lenders that you’re more likely to pay off your loan, so they may give you a lower rate.

Not sure if your scores have improved? On Credit Karma, you can get your free VantageScore 3.0 credit scores from TransUnion and Equifax.

When you’re not underwater on your current loan

Generally speaking, it’s easier to find a lender who’ll work with you when your car is worth more than your remaining loan balance.

New cars can lose about 20% of their original value within the first year, and an average of 15% to 25% each of the next four years, according to Carfax. So time is of the essence.

Some lenders won’t even consider refinancing an older car. Capital One, for example, only refinances loans for vehicles that are seven years old or newer.

If your car is relatively new and still has equity, now could be a good time to refinance.


How difficult is it to refinance?

Each lender has a variety of requirements. It can be difficult to sort through them all, but Credit Karma can help you narrow down some of the options.

One lender requirement you’ll want to be aware of is mileage.

LendingClub will refinance a personal vehicle with fewer than 120,000 miles. But for some lenders, lower mileage could mean better rates. Navy Federal Credit Union, for example, offers loans with rates as low as 1.79% as of May 2020, but only for vehicles that haven’t logged 7,500 miles or more.

Also, be aware that some lenders may not refinance loans for your vehicle’s make or model. For example, if you drive an Oldsmobile, Daewoo, Saab, Suzuki or Isuzu, you can’t qualify for an auto refinance loan through Capital One.

You may also need to look outside your current lender for a loan. While some lenders, like Bank of America, will refinance an existing loan they’ve given you, other lenders won’t.


Does applying for an auto loan affect my credit scores?

If the lender pulls your credit, your loan application will show up on your credit reports as a hard inquiry. While hard inquiries can affect your credit, each one may only knock a few points off your scores. And shopping around may not hurt — depending on the credit-scoring model, any auto loan inquiries that take place within a given time span ranging from 14 to 45 days will count as a single inquiry.


Next steps

Refinancing your auto loan can help you access new payment options that better fit your needs.

Whether your credit has improved, interest rates have gone down or you’ve found a lender who can offer you better terms, it might be the time to refinance. First, make sure you do the following:

  • Confirm your current monthly payments, APR and the length of your loan.
  • Compare refinance offers and be sure you understand how much you’ll pay in interest over the life of your loan. An online auto loan calculator can help.

Contact Education First and let us crunch the numbers for you. We might just be able to help you save money. Give us a call us at (614) 221-9376 or email us at  We are here to help walk you through the process and answer any questions you have.



January 4, 2021
04 Jan 2021

Make 2021 the Year that You Get Out of Debt!

Is one of your 2021 goals to get out of debt? GreeenPath can help!

GreenPath offers free credit counseling and debt counseling to help ease your financial stress, address your financial concerns, and develop a plan for living a financially healthy life.

December 7, 2020
07 Dec 2020

What to Expect on Your First Holiday Home as a College Student

Season’s greetings! Or is your holiday spirit more like ho ho hum?

It’s the jolliest time of year again, but everything’s different now. Instead of decking the halls with your family and counting down the days until Christmas together, you’ll be heading home just days before the holidays to spend time with people you haven’t seen in months. What’s it going to be like to go home after so many months away? You’re also living on a tight budget now, and you’re stressing over gifts and travel costs.

How are you going to keep the joy in the holiday season this year? Try these ideas:

Mind your money

Don’t think that the arrival of the holiday season has to mean letting your budget fly out the window.
First, save on airline tickets by clearing your cache before searching for flights to help bring up the best deals. It’s also helpful to book your flight during the week; research shows that airlines tend to offer their lowest prices on Tuesdays.
Next, save on gifts by arranging a Secret Santa swap among your friends. You’ll only have to spring for one gift, and the surprise factor makes the exchange super-fun.
Finally, save on clothing costs by skipping the mall and instead hitting larger bargain stores, like TJ Maxx and Marshalls. Spend some time digging through their selections and you just might hit gold.

Stick to a schedule

We get it; you’ve been waiting for this break through the whole pressure-packed semester. And it’s OK to use the time to indulge in a total nap-fest, living in your pajamas for three weeks straight. But sticking to some sort of schedule will make you feel better about how you spent your break. You’ll also go back to college feeling refreshed and ready to sail through the rest of the year.
One way to accomplish this is by carving out some time for a daily workout. No, this doesn’t mean you need to sign up for an aerobics boot-camp class or wake up before dawn for a 40-minute run. You can get your muscles moving with an afternoon jog around the neighborhood or by reacquainting yourself with the elliptical your parents keep in the basement. You’ll feel more energetic and keep the holiday bulge to a minimum.

It’s also important to spend some daily time doing something more meaningful than binge-watching your favorite show or hollering at the football game on TV. You can volunteer at the local soup kitchen, catch up with old friends or use the looser schedule to apply for scholarships.

Be prepared for changes in the family dynamic

You’ve been away from home for a while, and you’ve likely undergone some changes in your appearance, personality or even political views since your parents last saw you. You’ve probably developed a sense of independence that wasn’t there when you left home, either. Be prepared for these changes, as well as your prolonged absence from home, to trigger their own changes in the family dynamic.

Knowing what to expect will help you avoid confrontation and misunderstandings. If you feel your newly acquired independence being threatened when you’re back under your parents’ roof, remind yourself that you’re now in their home and you need to play by their rules. You’re only home for a few weeks, so do your best to remain respectful as your parents adjust to any changes you’ve undergone since you left home.

©2021 Education First Credit Union -Serving the Education Community since 1936