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Credit union rises to top of ABQ’s skyline

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After more than 15 years of branding with a bank name, New Mexico’s tallest building, the 22-story Albuquerque Plaza in Downtown, will bear the name of U.S. Eagle Federal Credit Union. (Courtesy Of Albuquerque Plaza/U.S. Eagle Fcu)

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — The homegrown U.S. Eagle Federal Credit Union has secured signage rights to New Mexico’s tallest building, the 22-story Albuquerque Plaza in Downtown, in a move that breaks the traditional pattern of banks getting their names atop prominent office buildings.

Reportedly the third largest credit union in the state, U.S. Eagle FCU’s name will replace the Bank of Albuquerque sign on the north and south sides of the building at 201 Third NW as early as January. The credit union will also open a branch on the first floor of the building.

“The signage rights and new branch location offer a unique opportunity for U.S. Eagle, New Mexico’s oldest credit union, to drive home its dedication to the City of Albuquerque,” U.S. Eagle President and CEO Marsha Majors said in a prepared statement.

Bank of Albuquerque, which is relocating its headquarters from Albuquerque Plaza to the Journal Center near Paseo del Norte and Interstate 25, has had its name on the building since the end of 1998.

As a rule, banks have typically sought signage rights to Downtown office buildings, such as the Bank of America Centre at 500 Fourth NW, New Mexico Bank & Trust at 320 Gold SW and Compass Bank Building at 505 Marquette NW.

Albuquerque Plaza’s signage is particularly high profile because, with its 20-story neighbor the Hyatt Regency, it defines Albuquerque’s urban skyline and thus appears regularly in publications and websites.

Owned by an investment group headed by local businessman Jim Long, who also runs Heritage Hotels & Resorts Inc., Albuquerque Plaza is one of Albuquerque’s handful of consensus Class A office buildings. It’s home to about 25 office tenants and about 800 workers, said its building manager, Glenda W. Moore.

Long said he was thrilled to have U.S. Eagle FCU acquire the rights, because of nearly five decades of both personal and business association.

“U.S. Eagle has provided financing for my education, marriage, vehicle purchases, home and business financing,” he said.

Founded in 1935, U.S. Eagle was formerly U.S. New Mexico Federal Credit Union until a rebranding effective in March. According to the National Credit Union Administration, it has 83,318 members and $855 million in assets.

With administrative offices at 3939 Osuna NE, U.S. Eagle operates nine branch banks around the state.

It plans to move a Downtown branch at 616 Gold SW into the Albuquerque Plaza space that has been occupied by a Bank of Albuquerque branch.

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