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Leaders Series – Jersey Central Federal Credit Union President/CEO Chris Chichester on NJ 101.5 FM 

October 17, 2017 Categories: Leaders Series

 

Jersey Central Federal Credit Union President/CEO Chris Chichester was on-air with popular radio host - and proud member of multiple credit unions - Bill Spadea.

Leaders Series – Research 1166 Federal Credit Union President/CEO Annemarie Shinn on NJ 101.5 FM 

September 05, 2017 Categories: Leaders Series

Research 1166 Federal Credit Union President/CEO Annemarie Shinn was on-air with popular radio host - and proud member of multiple credit unions - Bill Spadea.

Fort Dix Federal Credit Union, Standing with Our Nation’s Military for Over 50 Years 

July 20, 2017 Categories: legacy series

FT. DIX, N.J. – The philosophy that credit unions were built on is “people helping people.” Credit unions were formed by those who had a common bond—workers, friends, neighbors, family members, for example—who sought to fill a need for financial support. The story of how Fort Dix Federal Credit Union came to be is one of family: both the brotherhood of men in the service and the daughter of one its founders, who runs the credit union to this day.

First called Camp 13 (and then Camp Dix), Fort Dix was built in 1917 as a training and staging area for troops headed to Europe to fight in World War I. The name was changed when the facility was significantly expanded in 1939, to serve the same purpose for troops headed to fight in World War II.


Pictured are the commanding generals, sergeant majors, and other officers of Fort Dix in front of the credit union in the 1960s.

The mission continued after each of those wars, helping de-mobilize returning troops and eventually transitioning to mobilizing, training, deploying, and demobilizing Army Reserve and National Guard units. One of the largest sites in the country, some weekends see as many as 15,000 reservists on the base.

Fort Dix FCU was founded by men in the military to serve the unique needs of active and retired military members, along with civil service members and their families, which sets it apart from other financial institutions who have a one-size-fits-all approach to banking products and services.

Under the direction of Chief Warrant Officer Clarence P. Lines, Fort Dix FCU was founded on May 1, 1963 by Sergeant Major Max D. Martin and Post Sergeant Major John E. Kerner, whose daughter Janet Sperling runs the credit union today.

In the early 1960s, Kerner was assigned to Fort Dix as Post Sergeant Major and, at the time, there was no credit union that served the Army assigned to Fort Dix. This was especially problematic for the younger soldiers, many of whom did not have cars, and had a difficult time cashing checks and applying for loans without having to go off-base.

Kerner was tasked alongside Sergeant Major Max Martin by Chief Warrant Officer Clarence Lines to do the research and establish a Fort Dix credit union to help these soldiers in need. The credit union opened the doors of its first location, a trailer, on May 1, 1963 with the first deposit of about six dollars. At that time, the maximum loan amount was set at $150.00. The original group of members was made up of 12 soldiers. After just eight months of service, the institution had welcomed more than 700 members.


John and Bertha Kerner

During the summers of 1977 and 1978, the operations of the credit union became a family affair as the daughter of John and Bertha Kerner, Janet Sperling, began working part-time at the credit union. During that time, Sergeant Major Martin, at that point retired from the military, was the designated manager and also held a seat on the board. Bertha Kerner was the assistant manager and treasurer on the board, and John Kerner was the chairman of the board. Shortly after graduating from high school, Sperling became a full-time employee due to the unexpected passing of Sergeant Major Martin. Since then, Sperling has climbed the ranks, to become the CEO of Fort Dix FCU.

Sperling has seen the base and the credit union’s members change over the course of her 40 years with the credit union, especially after the merging of McGuire Air Force Base, United States Army Fort Dix, and Navy’s Naval Air Engineering Station Lakehurst in 2009. “With each war and each conflict, something has been different,” she explains. “There is no draft anymore, so you have less of the constant flux of younger people. We have more retired people, who have settled in this area, now than there were before because you had your boom of soldiers after World War II and after Vietnam who had to make a decision when they got out. What were they going to do? Where were they going to go?”


Pictured from left to right: Debbie Regi, Lisa Tuliano, and CEO Janet Sperling.

Despite the changes, the members of the Fort Dix FCU are here to stay because of the consistent, personalized service they receive. Sperling shares one of her favorite memories of her mother helping a member, which exemplifies the values Fort Dix FCU continues to provide to the their community. Bertha Kerner received a call from a member, an older gentleman that had just gotten out of the military, who had gotten into some trouble with the law and was going to face jail time if he didn’t post bail. After his arrest, he asked for a phonebook, looked up Bertha Kerner, called her, and explained the situation. Bertha Kerner drove down and posted bail for him, on the grounds that he would come into the credit union the next day to make arrangements to pay her back. He agreed. And after she posted bail for him and drove him home, the very next day, he went into the credit union and applied for a loan to pay off his debt. Since then, the gentleman has passed on, but his son is still a member of the credit union. “Even though we’re all the same, we’re all so very different,” says Sperling, “We all have that member focus that makes a difference.”

Sperling and her staff carry on the legacy of her parents, who have since passed, by carrying on their dedication to the “people helping people” philosophy. “We’re all a nice little family,” says Sperling of her staff and members. “We know sometimes more things about the members than we need to know. We like our people.” And their people like them. Sperling says their members like speaking with their main teller, Lisa Tuliano, so much that when she’s on vacation, they’ll wait for her to come back before getting what they need. “Everybody loves Lisa,” says Sperling. “Because we’re so small, we can have that intimate relationship with people. It’s the people connection.”

Though the environment is ever-changing with the times on the Fort Dix base, its credit union still provides the same personalized service and care to their members—and is right there whenever they need it. Their primary focus is not on the numbers, but on the people that walk through their doors. Sperling continues the legacy that her parents left behind and remains focused on their mission to serve and stand with the United States military forces.

For more information, visit www.ftdixfcu.com.  

To learn more about the benefits of credit unions and to find one near you, go to www.BankingYouCanTrust.com.

Leaders Series -- Aspire Federal Credit Union President/CEO Tom O'Shea Talks Student Loans and Student Debt 

June 22, 2017 Categories: Leaders Series

Aspire Federal Credit Union President/CEO Tom O'Shea was on-air with popular radio host - and proud member of multiple credit unions - Bill Spadea.

Raritan Bay FCU, Serving the Hardworking Middle Class for Over 75 Years  

June 07, 2017 Categories: legacy series

Many credit unions were founded by groups of workers in areas where traditional banking services were either unavailable or beyond their means. Such is the case with Raritan Bay Federal Credit Union, which was founded in 1941 to serve workers of National Lead.


Founding members of Titanox FCU (what is now known as Raritan Bay FCU). From left to right: Steve Stankovitz, Mitch La’Voie, John F. Kroeger, John Andrejewski, and Rocco Fazari.

Not only does Raritan Bay FCU have deep roots, but the original founders exhibited an amazing devotion to their fellow members that is a hallmark of the cooperative credit union business model. During its 75th anniversary celebration last year, Raritan Bay FCU honored one of its original members, John Andrejewski, in recognition of his 75 years as a member and 41 years of service as an official to the credit union.

Andrejewski, now 97 years old, recently took the time to reflect on the early days of the credit union, its humble beginnings in a single room at the lead plant, and how its blue-collar start has defined its mission to this day.

It all began in 1941 when five National Lead workers on the management team began the credit union with the approval of the plant manager, who gave them a room to start the operations right in the plant. As new employees joined the ranks at the plant, they became members of the credit union. Andrejewski joined as soon as he became a maintenance worker for National Lead in 1941. His member number was, and still is to this day, one of the very first account numbers of what has now become almost 11,000 members. And he has been involved in the credit union’s growth every step of the way.

“The credit union was for the people. For the working man. For the blue-collar worker,” he explains while reminiscing about the credit union’s humble beginnings at the plant. The credit union, named Titanox Federal Credit Union at the time, was there for the workers who needed loans. The plant workers very seldom defaulted on them, says Andrejewski, because they had a steady stream of income from the plant, but also because they had a loyalty to their fellow workers, including Andrejewski, who served on multiple committees for the credit union over the years.

The credit union moved to several locations after it left the National Lead building in the late 1950s, including a space it rented from the South Amboy First Aid Squad, until it finally found its home in 1993 at 491 Raritan Street on the border of Sayreville and South Amboy, where it still remains today. Andrejewski oversaw the plans for the building, which serves as the credit union’s headquarters, and is playfully teased to this day for some of the out-turned bricks on the corner of the building he chose to make it look “a little bit different.”

As membership expanded, Raritan Bay FCU went through a few name changes. After including the communities surrounding the plant—Sayreville and South Amboy—in 1982, the credit union’s name was changed to Titanox-Community Federal Credit Union, then to Raritan Bay FCU on April 21, 1988. In 1997, it opened a second location on Main Street in South River.


Andrejewski (left) celebrating the credit union’s 75th anniversary with Board Chair Elsie Mroczkowski (center) and President/CEO Ron Behrens (right).

In 1999, Raritan Bay FCU became the first credit union in New Jersey to open a Student-Run Credit Union Branch, which was located in South Amboy Middle/High School. Students were given the opportunity to volunteer at the high school branch where they learned the basic principles and practices of the financial services industry and the operation of a small business. High School seniors are also offered the opportunity to apply for a scholarship through the credit union to help off-set the cost of college.

Current President/CEO, Ronald Behrens, noted that Raritan Bay FCU stays involved in its community by supporting many events throughout the year and paying homage to its roots in the area surrounding the plant, including Sayreville Day, South River's National Night Out, South Amboy's Raritan Bay Festival of the Arts, Sayreville Police Annual Torch Run to benefit local Special Olympics, and The Breast Cancer Walk in Edison. They even devote revenue from ATM usage to Toys-for-Tots and other local charities, collect non-perishable foods for over 80 local food pantries, soup kitchens and 25 other community social service agencies, and provide scholarship awards to high school seniors for college education.

The credit union’s dedication to its community, especially its younger generations, earned it recognition over the years; the credit union was awarded the Desjardins Youth Financial Education Award for New Jersey in 2013 and 2014.

The credit union now serves almost 11,000 members in all of Middlesex County and along the Raritan Bay. More information at www.rbfcu.coop.

Leaders Series -- Garden Savings FCU President/CEO Lou Vetere Talks Millenials and Retirement Saving 

May 05, 2017 Categories: Leaders Series

Garden Savings FCU President/CEO Lou Vetere was on-air with popular radio host—and proud member of multiple credit unions—Bill Spadea.

Leaders Series -- Advanced Financial FCU President/CEO Alan Feigenbaum Discusses Saving Early  

March 24, 2017 Categories: Leaders Series

Advanced Financial FCU President/CEO Alan Feigenbaum discusses millennials and building credit with radio host Bill Spadea on NJ 101.5 FM.

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!

Technology: Improving the Credit Union Experience 

February 15, 2017 Categories: credit union

Credit unions want to #CU_Thrive. Watch Raffo's story on how he uses technology to bring the credit union branch to younger members.

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