As Hiway Credit Union and SPIRE Credit Union approach their legal merge date, the Twin Cities-based credit unions shared their much-anticipated new name and brand: Blaze Credit Union.
Inspired by the two organizations’ shared histories and roots, as well as the new credit union’s vision, the name reflects the conceptual meaning of brightly colored blazes along a tree-lined trail: guidance, navigation, and wayfinding.
“No matter your age or where you’re at, financial journeys can appear daunting, and it’s natural for people to sometimes feel a little lost,” said SPIRE President/CEO Dan Stoltz. “SPIRE and Hiway have been helping our members follow the path to their dreams - improving their lives - for more than 180 years combined. Our new credit union’s name and brand underscores our mission: to be a partner along that path, helping our members go for it, whatever their ‘it’ might be.”
“Blaze Credit Union isn’t just our name, it’s what we do,” added Hiway President/CEO Dave Boden. “Beyond providing guidance to our members, we’re also here to move our communities forward. Both Hiway and SPIRE have a long history of giving back to our home communities, and that commitment to bettering our shared road ahead will continue.”
In addition to the new name, the coming-soon credit union’s other brand elements muse on regional geography and many Midwesterners’ love of the outdoors. In the logo, the ‘B’ is carved to show a blazed trail to a destination. The color palette is full of coppers, golds and greens - colors of money which also reflect scenery like raw iron ore, warm sunsets, and the beautiful pines that line our roads and dot our city parks.
The tagline, Go for it, calls members and potential members to take bold action toward their dreams, with Blaze as their trusted partner.
“This new brand combines the best of SPIRE and Hiway into a simple brand concept,” said Stoltz. “Even for those more indoors-people who prefer sheltered skyways to hiking trails, everyone is traveling along a life trail, so to speak, of their very own, and we exist to help them navigate it. While we’re sunsetting our respective brands, the values, the histories, and the visions which have made us who we are will continue, stronger than ever.”
The new name and branding were revealed on Wednesday to the SPIRE and Hiway teams during a private celebration at Inwood Oaks in Oakdale. SPIRE’s well-loved 1952 Ford, Archie, made an appearance - having undergone a makeover - and the pickup will continue to be a part of the new brand. Archie was joined by Dot, Hiway’s late model Ford F150; her name pays homage to the credit union’s Department of Transportation origins.
“This is an exciting time for all of us – we’re ready to go for it!” said Boden. “When we did the reveal, there was a lot of enthusiasm from our people, as there has been for the SPIRE/Hiway partnership in general. We’re confident that Blaze Credit Union will make an impact in the financial industry, as well as be a leader in our region with boundless opportunities for our members, our communities, and our associates.”
Blaze Credit Union will officially launch on January 1, 2024, combining Hiway Credit Union and SPIRE Credit Union in a merger-of-equals. Boards and management teams are being integrated, with Stoltz taking the role of CEO, and Boden becoming the President. All employees will be retained, and all 26 existing branch locations will remain open.
On the legal merge date, Hiway and SPIRE will combine assets, liabilities, and capital. Other organizational processes and technologies will be integrated throughout 2024. Blaze Credit Union will be the fourth largest credit union in Minnesota, boasting assets of nearly $4 billion, serving approximately 250,000 members, and employing more than 600 people.