FARMINGTON — U.S. New Mexico Federal Credit Union on Friday will celebrate the grand opening of its new branch on east Main Street.

The grand opening is set for 11 a.m.-1 p.m. at the credit union, 3024 E. Main St.

It's the credit union's sixth branch, and the first in the Four Corners. The credit union's other branches are in Albuquerque and Bernalillo.

U.S. New Mexico Federal Credit Union has almost 2,000 members in San Juan County, said Alan Varela, vice president for strategic development.

"We think Farmington is a community that's growing," he said. "Certainly there was a need for our services. It's under-served as far as credit unions go."

San Juan County also has Animas Credit Union in Farmington and Bloomfield, BAB Credit Union in Aztec, First Financial Credit Union in Farmington, Four Corners Federal Credit Union in Kirtland and Southwest federal Credit Union in Farmington.

Credit unions are not-for-profit financial institutions. Any net profits go back to members in the form of better loan rates, or free services.

The new U.S. New Mexico Federal Credit Union branch has 7-8 employees. It initially was staffed by credit union employees from Albuquerque, but most of the staff is now local, official said.

The branch opened in early June, but the credit union held off on the grand opening until this week.

The credit union got a good start in San Juan County, partly because of its membership base in the area, said Phil Forbert, marketing manager.

"It's been really good," he said. "We had a pretty strong relationship up there to begin with. We've been happy so far with the initial response without us doing much promotions yet."

The credit union soon will begin advertising locally,

he said.

U.S. New Mexico Federal Credit Union avoided much of the fallout from the financial crisis that began in fall 2008 by exercising care with members' funds, said Varela.

"We're one of the credit unions that avoided all of the problems of the last several years because we're very safe and sound with our members' money," Varela said.

While others were jumping into subprime lending, "we simply didn't do that," he said.

Founded in 1935, U.S. New Mexico Federal Credit Union has about $700 million in assets.

"We're the oldest credit union in the state, but we're still growing," Forbert said.