RALEIGH, N.C. (5/12/09)--State Employees CU (SECU) is purchasing land for a new branch building at the site of the first rural credit union in the South. The credit union, Lowe’s Grove Rural CU, opened Jan. 20, 1916 in Durham, N.C. A highway historical marker currently denotes the site where the credit union was located. SECU and the Lowe’s Grove Historical Marker Committee worked together to facilitate the land purchase, said Gus Godwin, committee chair and SECU member. “SECU has been looking to purchase land in the Lowe’s Grove area for quite some time,” added Shirley Bell, SECU board chair. Branch construction is scheduled to begin this summer. Durham banker John Sprunt Hill initiated the opening of Lowe’s Grove CU after studying the credit cooperative concept in Europe while part of a commission appointed by President Woodrow Wilson. He said a credit union would be of great value to the agricultural community in North Carolina. SECU has $16 billion in assets.