Cove Federal Credit Union in Edgewood is a small institution with a big heart.

The former SEMC Credit Union has just one office on Dudley Road, but offers all the financial services of much bigger institutions.

“What really makes us unique is the personal attention we give our members,” says Bennie Hoppius, CEO since 2002. “We’re large enough to offer all the services, but small enough to know you as a person.”

For example, she says, if a member comes in for loan but doesn’t have a good credit score, “we look at you, your history and what caused your credit to not be so good. Is it because you didn’t pay your bills, or because you’ve had a rough time? We’ll give you a loan where other institutions, which go only by a credit score, won’t. And if we can’t give you a loan, we’ll tell you what steps you can take to repair your credit. We don’t just leave you hanging.”

Cove was started by a small group of employees at St. Elizabeth’s Hospital in 1970. It has had an office on Dudley Road since 1999 when Hoppius joined as office manager.

Today, Cove has about 8,600 members and assets of $50 million, the 20th largest credit union in Kentucky. It offers a full range of banking services, including a mobile app and at-home banking with remote deposit capture.

Through a network, its members have access to 12,000 ATMs nationally and it participates in shared branching services, giving members access to their accounts at 5,000 institutions nationally.

“I was in Anchorage, Alaska, recently and walked into a credit union and withdrew money from my account here,” Hoppius says.

The credit union split off from the hospital system last year. “The hospital decided it wanted to concentrate on purely medical matters,” she says. “And we’ve incorporated a lot more groups [since we were formed], so it fit with our plan.”

It adopted the name Cove to reflect how members thought of it as a protected, caring place, Hoppius says.

And it is not just financial services. It recently began a series of classes, at members’ request, on achieving physical, emotional and financial health.

“We want members to find their balance and for that to be all-inclusive,” Hoppius says.

About 40 employer groups in the Tristate have affiliated with Cove to offer its credit union services to employees, and it’s looking for more.

“It doesn’t cost the employer anything. We provide banking services to employees, education and help on activities like golf outings. With technology, we can serve members anywhere so we’re venturing out farther into places such as Ohio,” she says.

Hoppius says credit unions have to grow to survive, and Cove would like to grow its assets to about $70 million or more over the next year.

“We’re so small compared to the banks. We always say we walk the walk but we don’t have the marketing dollars to talk the talk,” she says. “But once people know who we are and what we do, we have no problem getting them to join.”