Posts in Category: credit union difference

Credit Unions: More Convenient Than You Think they Were 

By: Daniel Jacinto

How many times have you heard cons that seem to outweigh the pros of becoming a credit union member? You may have heard that free ATMs for are scarce. You may think that a credit union is too local, that you can’t get branch services nationwide. You may also think, “How could a credit union compete with my big bank that offers a vast number of services?”

Credit unions have often been labeled as inconvenient and low-tech. But that isn’t all necessarily true. What you may not know is that credit unions are financial cooperatives. They work together on one sole purpose–benefitting their members. It’s what credit unions believe in. It’s what they were founded on, the “People Helping People,” mantra. That’s why credit unions nationwide have established a network through CO-OP Financial Services that challenges the “inconvenient” and “low-tech” labels.

The Shared Branching network through CO-OP Financial Services has over 5,400 branches nationwide that provide full-branch services to you–the member. This cooperation places credit unions as the 3rd largest in branch locations nationwide, ahead of competitive opposition like Bank of America and PNC Bank. If you’re a member of credit union that is part of that network, you can find Shared Branching locations where you can conveniently do your banking by using the online locator. There are also apps for both iPhone and Android phones where you can quickly and easily find branches and free ATMs.

Speaking of ATMs…there are nearly 30,000 surcharge-free ATMs in the network that provide convenient account access at locations including 7-Eleven, retail locations, and more!

In addition to being convenient, credit unions are also personal. They treat you like a member, not just a number. As a credit union member, you have a voice in the fate of the credit union’s future thanks to their democratically-controlled structure.

New Jersey’s credit unions provide banking you can trust! They have the banking services you need, with  little to no fees for accounts, low loan rates, and higher deposit rates. To find one near you check out this locator here!

Credit Unions Around the World Celebrate ‘The Authentic Difference’ on International Credit Union Day 

By Daniel Jacinto

Celebrated every third Thursday of October since 1948, International Credit Union Day (ICU Day) is a day dedicated to recognizing the credit union movement throughout history, honor those who dedicate their lives to the movement, recognize the hard work of industry employees, and to show CU members appreciation.

This year, ICU Day was celebrated on October 20th with the theme of ‘The Authentic Difference.” It was dedicated to communicating the unique qualities that make credit unions special. Credit unions celebrate this day by spreading credit union awareness in the form of sharing goodies, giveaways, and specials with their membership. Read on to see how credit unions around the world celebrated International Credit Union Day.

British Colombia, Canada

Canada’s largest credit union by membership, Coast Capital Savings, celebrated International Credit Union Day by reflecting on its commitment to the principles and values that continue to drive its success. "All that we are today and all that we will become in the future is inspired by our roots and our continued commitment to helping our members achieve financial well-being and supporting the enrichment of our local communities," said Coast Capital Savings President and CEO Don Coulter.

New Jersey, United States

Bay Atlantic FCU had free giveaways at their branches that were given to members that stopped by in celebration of “The Authentic Difference”.

Credit Union of New Jersey (CUNJ) celebrated ICU Day with goodies for both their staff and their members. Staff members were provided with international snacks and were able to wear jeans. CUNJ members had several goodies, such as snacks and giveaways, at all branches. At the Ewing branch, an NJ 101.5 radio station van was on-site playing music and giving away prizes from 12 p.m. to 2 p.m.

Deepwater Industries FCU served delicious snacks to their members that included coffee, doughnuts, and cookies in the morning and hot dogs, chips, and drinks in the afternoon.

First Financial FCU (FFFCU) held a social media contest on their Facebook and Instagram pages asking members to comment with why they love being an FFFCU member. A winner was pulled out of a drawing for a $20 Visa gift card for that lucky member.

Garden Savings FCU set up tables at all four of its branches to celebrate ICU Day and handed out pens, key chains, and snacks. Each branch offered members the opportunity to win a $50 Visa gift card by verifying or updating their email address.

Jersey Shore FCU held an open house from October 17th to October 22nd in celebration of ICU Week. Refreshments, giveaways, and loan and credit card specials were offered to members. Members were also given a chance to win $2,500 with a Refer-A-Member promotion.

Members 1st of NJ FCU hosted an open house throughout October in celebration of International Credit Union Day encouraging anyone in the community to visit the credit union and receive a gift. On ICU Day, Members 1st of NJ FCU provided refreshments, handed out giveaways, and held a drawing for a chance to win an Amazon Echo. For children under 10 years old, a coloring contest was held.

Newark Board of Education Employees FCU set up tables in their branch’s lobby with materials to hand out, along with candies and other goodies.

Rutgers FCU shared refreshments at their Busch, Camden, College Avenue, and Newark branches in celebration of International Credit Union Day.

New Zealand

Co-op Money NZ, the trading name for the New Zealand Association of Credit Unions, celebrated ICU Day this year by working with Pacific Island banks to strengthen their identity theft protection for members banking with them through Co-op Money NZ’s AccessDebit Scheme. Co-op Money NZ is a co-operative representing member credit unions and building societies in New Zealand.

For pictures of New Jersey credit union celebrations please click here.

Founded by Kimble Glass Factory Workers Over 75 Years Ago, Bay Atlantic FCU has Provided Generations of Family Friendly Service to its Community 

September 13, 2016 Categories: credit union difference legacy series

Although they offer many of the same services, credit unions operate in a fundamentally different way than banks, one based on the philosophy of “people helping people”. Credit unions were typically founded by friends, like neighbors, workers and people who worship together. In our latest installment of the Legacy Series, we’re featuring a credit union founded by nine factory workers, one of which is a relative of the credit union’s current CEO.

“Generations of Family Friendly Service.” That’s Bay Atlantic FCU’s tagline, which was inspired and voted on by its members. The credit union’s legacy drives this motto; the not-for-profit was founded over 75 years ago in 1939 by nine Kimble Glass factory workers who decided to join together for the mutual benefit of the group.

We often see credit unions with deep roots in a community – Bay Atlantic takes that concept to a whole new level. One of those nine founding workers, Lillian Steelman, is the great aunt of Gail Marino, Bay Atlantic’s current President & CEO. “You can say that the credit union is my blood,” Marino said. Marino has carried on that tradition of long-standing ties to the credit union, having begun working at the credit union (named Kimble Federal Credit Union at the time) in 1977 as a teller.

Over the years, Bay Atlantic FCU has grown to serve many other organizations, including Progresso and General Mills. But the credit union always stayed true to its primarily blue color legacy of meeting the needs of workers and their families. With expansion, the credit union changed its name in 2002 to Bay Atlantic Federal Credit Union to better represent the area it serves: the section of southern New Jersey between the Delaware Bay and the Atlantic Ocean.

Bay Atlantic FCU now has two branches in that area: its main office on Elmer Road in Vineland and a branch in Millville. When the credit union decided to close a third branch on Crystal Avenue in Vineland, it chose to give back to the community by donating the building and land to the Boys and Girls Club of Vineland for their new Teen Center.

When she handed over the keys to the local nonprofit, Marino noted, "It is our intention to restore the chance for this facility to once again be an active location and, if possible, benefit the entire area."

Actions speak louder than words, and for Bay Atlantic, “Our history proves that our institution is based on the principle of ‘people helping people’,” said Marino.

Bay Atlantic FCU also continues to honor its past, recognizing the generations of members who have built the credit union into what it is today. For example, the credit union sends birthday cards to the senior citizens that have continued their membership into their golden years. “Sometimes it’s the only card they get,” Marino noted. “It’s the little things. It’s all about relationships.”

At a credit union, you’re much more than just a customer. For more information on Bay Atlantic Federal Credit Union, including how to join, visit www.bayatlanticfcu.org or find one near you at www.BankingYouCanTrust.com

Founded by School Teachers; First Financial FCU Stays True to its Roots and its Community 

August 24, 2016 Categories: credit union difference legacy series

Although they offer many of the same services, credit unions operate in a fundamentally different way than banks, one based on the philosophy of “people helping people”. Credit unions were typically founded by friends, like neighbors, workers and people who worship together. In our third installment of the Legacy Series, we’re featuring a credit union founded during the Depression by a group of teachers in Asbury Park, N.J.

The Great Depression started in 1929, and continued for more than a decade. During that time, the economy came to a standstill, banks were failing left and right, and many people were resorting to the only safe haven they knew for their money – under the mattress. In 1936, a group of Asbury Park, N.J. schoolteachers decided there was another way to provide essential banking services to themselves and others, all while protecting their savings. 

In true cooperative spirit, this group came together to help each other in a time of need and organized themselves into one of the earliest credit unions in America: Monmouth County, NJ Teachers Federal Credit Union. Today, 80 years later, that credit union still exists, much larger and now known as First Financial Federal Credit Union. 

Getting from Monmouth County Teachers FCU to First Financial FCU took more than a few years of growth and expansion, cooperative efforts, and dedication to specific communities. Under the leadership of Harold “Pop” Shannon, the credit union grew to serve other teacher-related populations: employees of both the Monmouth and Ocean County Boards of Education. The small shop went through a name change to reflect the groups it served: Mon-Oc Teachers Federal Credit Union.

From that small office in Asbury Park (pictured), over the years the credit union expanded again to serve municipal employees (followed by another name change, to Mon-Oc Public Employees Federal Credit Union), employees of some local hospitals and nursing facilities, and several small businesses (when the name then became simply Mon-Oc Federal Credit Union).

In April 2003, Mon-Oc FCU became a community credit union, serving anyone who lives, works, worships or attends school in Monmouth or Ocean Counties. With this expansion, the credit union became First Financial Federal Credit Union in July 2006.

Celebrating its 80th anniversary this year, the credit union stays true to its roots as an organization founded by teachers. “Education has and always will be a pivotal piece of our organization, and we have stayed true to our educational roots by continuing to support our members and the local community through financial education,” says First Financial FCU President/CEO, Issa Stephan. “We hold free monthly seminars on various important topics such as budgeting, credit management, debt reduction, how to buy a home or car, and more. Our Foundation provides annual college scholarships to Monmouth and Ocean County students, as well as classroom grants to teachers within our community. We are proud to support our local teachers, students, and educate as many members of our community as we can.”

First Financial FCU may have grown and seen some changes in its 80 years, but it has stayed true to its early years as a dedicated source for financial education and services for its community.

At a credit union, you’re much more than just a customer. For more information on First Financial Federal Credit Union, including how to join, visit www.firstffcu.com or find one near you at www.BankingYouCanTrust.com.

 

Founded by Dedicated Educators, Greater Alliance Federal Credit Union Invites You to Join its Extended Family 

August 03, 2016 Categories: credit union difference legacy series

Although they offer many of the same services, credit unions operate in a fundamentally different way than banks, one based on the philosophy of “people helping people”. Credit unions were typically founded by friends, like neighbors, workers and people who worship together. Today, we’re featuring a credit union that got its start in Hackensack High School, which has now grown into a 19,000-member family that serves the entire surrounding area.

In 1937 five dedicated educators founded a credit union in Hackensack High School, established primarily for the purpose of serving teachers and their immediate families. One can only presume that at least one of the founders was a math or home economics teacher. From those humble beginnings sprang a tradition of more than 75 years of commitment to members, community, and service.

As it grew, membership was expanded to include a diverse mix of communities, employee groups, and associations in Bergen and Passaic Counties. Eventually the name was changed to reflect the broader membership, becoming Greater Alliance Federal Credit Union (GAFCU).

But despite its growth and expansion, one thing never changed – GAFCU has stayed true to its family-focused roots. The credit union itself is a family, and this may be one of the reasons for their enviable record of employee retention. Almost half (around 43%) of their employees have been with the credit union for 10 years or more, and more than two-thirds have been there for at least five years or more. The credit union has had only three CEOs since the 30’s—an unbelievable rarity in the financial services industry.

Its current CEO, Glenn Guinto, also has deep roots in the Greater Alliance family, having begun his career there as a part-time teller. His assistant, Antonietta “Tony” Tartaglione, has worked at the credit union for over 30 years, starting when she was in high school in 1978, when there were only two other employees other than herself.

“Our employee tenure is what makes us an institution in the truest sense of the word,” says Guinto. “Our members have been with us for many generations and we can attribute our tenure as one of the main reasons that we’ve developed their trust in us.”

In his free time, Guinto still enjoys visiting the credit union’s branch lobbies and saying hello to members that he used to wait on as a teller. “I enjoy talking to our members—and sometimes their children. Most of them still remember when I was waiting on them from over the counter,” adds Guinto.

From those five educators in 1937,  Greater Alliance has grown into a community credit union, owned by its over 19,000 members. If you live, work, worship,  go to school in, or if you belong to a business or any legal entity within Bergen or Passaic County, you are invited to join the rest of the family at Greater Alliance Federal Credit Union.

At a credit union, you’re much more than just a customer. For more information on Greater Alliance FCU, including how to join, visit www.greateralliance.org or find a credit union near you at www.BankingYouCanTrust.com.

Thunderbolt Area FCU’s Rich History: Keeping it in the Family  

July 20, 2016 Categories: credit union difference legacy series

Although they offer many of the same services, credit unions operate in a fundamentally different way than banks, one based on the philosophy of “people helping people”.  Credit unions were typically founded by friends, like neighbors, workers and people who worship together. Today we’re featuring a credit union founded by eight toolmakers who worked in America’s first Defense Airport.

The South Jersey town of Millville is rich in history, most famously known as the home of the Millville Municipal Airport, the first training ground in the country for pilots during World War II. Thunderbolt Area Federal Credit Union, located at the airport entrance, is a part of that history and holds quite a story of its own.

Its president, Bob Millard, is the son of the credit union’s founder, Asher K. Millard. Asher worked for Airwork Corporation, the engine overhaul shop located in Millville, as a toolmaker. He and seven other Airwork employees began Airwork Employees Federal Credit Union – later to become Thunderbolt Area Federal Credit Union – by pooling together their money, $5 each at the time. Until then, Asher had kept his money in a safe at home, lending to friends in need when he could. Laying the foundation for the credit union came as a natural next step for him.

The credit union gained its federal charter on May 1, 1951 and was located on the premises of its original sponsor company, Airwork Corp. Asher, however, couldn’t take off work from his position as a toolmaker to operate the credit union. So, his wife, Helen K. Millard, worked there part-time, for no pay, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., Monday through Friday.

Their son, current Thunderbolt Area Federal Credit Union president Bob Millard, at the ripe age of 8, began helping his parents with calculations. “Effectively I have been involved in some way for nearly 65 years,” says Millard. He was then elected to the board of directors in 1968 and eventually took over as president when his father retired in 1985.

When asked why he began working at the credit union, and continued for as long as he has, Millard says it’s the philosophy of “people helping people” that brought him there and kept him there. “I liked the concept,” he explains, “To help an individual, someone who just walks in, needs help, that’s where it counts.”

Where does the name Thunderbolt Area come from? It was also taken from the pages of the history of Millville. The Thunderbolt P-47 was a plane flown in World War II, and pilots of these planes were trained at the nation’s first Army airfield: Millville Municipal Airport. “Area” comes from the credit union’s change in charter to serve the surrounding area.

Through the years, Thunderbolt Area FCU has stayed true to its roots—its community and its humble beginnings—due to its founding family.

At a credit union, you’re much more than just a customer. For more information on Thunderbolt Area FCU, including how to join, visit www.tbafcu.com or find a credit union near you at www.BankingYouCanTrust.com

Credit Unions Across the World Celebrate the “People Helping People” Philosophy on International Credit Union Day 

By Daniel Jacinto

International Credit Union Day (ICU Day) is a day dedicated to recognizing the credit union movement throughout history, honor those who dedicate their lives to the movement, recognize the hard work of industry employees, and to show CU members appreciation.

ICU Day has been celebrated every third Thursday of October since 1948. This year’s theme, celebrated on October 15th, was “People Helping People,” a philosophy mended into credit unions’ hearts. Read on to see how credit unions around the world celebrated International Credit Union Day.

Gambia
The National Association of Co-operative Credit Unions of The Gambia (NACCUG), the umbrella-body of credit unions in the country, commemorated the ICU Day at the Fatima Senior Secondary School in Bwiam, Foni Kansala District in the West Coast Region. The celebration brought together representatives of various credit unions, government officials, private sector operators and a cross-section of the society of Gambia.

New Jersey, United States
XCEL FCU used ICU Day as a chance to thank members for their support. All employees wore a special t-shirt to initiate the conversation. A special 1.52% 2-year certificate (the highest in the United States) was offered.

Members 1st of NJ FCU had goodies such as coffee and cookies for their members.

North Jersey FCU celebrated ICU Day by having a snack table at all their branches with great giveaways. See more of their ICU Day celebration here.

1st Bergen FCU hung international flags outside their branch location and offered cookies to their members on ICU Day. 1st Bergen also participated in Shop for Miracles; each time their members used their 1st Bergen-issued debit card, 1st Bergen donated $1 to Children’s Miracle Network, which helps provide critical treatments, equipment, and charitable care for kids in local communities and around the world.

Picatinny FCU handed out fortune cookies to their members at all of their branches on International Credit Union Day. Members were excited to read special ICU Day messaging as well as Picatinny FCU themed product and service offers! The cookies captured ICU Day’s theme this year of “People Helping People” and supporting the community!

Liberty Savings FCU celebrated ICU Day by throwing it back to 1960 and commemorating International Credit Union Day in October of 1960. See more pictures of their celebration here.

United Kingdom
International Credit Union Day this year was a special celebration for the Association of British Credit Unions Limited (ABCUL). This past ICU Day marked 50 years of credit unions in Britain. A number of credit unions in Britain celebrated with special promotions. Blues and Twos Credit Union ran an “Introduce a Friend/Colleague” promotion to reward members that referred new members to the credit union. The Co-operative Credit Union made donations to charity for every new member that joined the credit union throughout the week of ICU Day.

Illinois, United States
An employee from Staley Credit Union stood by an order counter for a half hour offering to pay lunch for unsuspecting diners on International Credit Union Day at a local restaurant. This was part of Greater Decatur Chapter of Credit Unions’ ICU Day celebrations. 

 
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