New York CUs rally at Capitol, sign pledge re-committing to mission

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The New York Credit Union Association held a rally at the state Capitol yesterday, drawing credit union supporters from across the state. More than 150 credit union advocates, members, employees, volunteers and leaders were on hand to celebrate International Credit Union Week, the Association’s 100-year anniversary and the unveiling of a pledge signed by over 300 New York credit unions.

State lawmakers—including Sen. Neil Breslin, D-Capital, and Assemblywoman Patricia Fahy, D-Capital—also attended the event and praised credit unions for their community involvement initiatives.

Association President/CEO William J. Mellin kicked off the event with opening remarks.

“Credit unions are different than other financial institutions because we are mission-focused, and our mission is 100 percent focused on serving our members and our communities,” said Mellin. “We help our members get to a better place, live better lives and realize their dreams.”

During his remarks, Mellin unveiled a document signed by more than 300 New York credit unions that reaffirms the state credit union movement’s commitment to their members, communities and philosophy.

Breslin and Fahy both applauded credit unions as community leaders and commended the movement for its “people helping people” philosophy.

“I see contributions from credit unions to areas that I think are critically important to make this a fairer, better state,” said Breslin. “So you should be proud of the work you do. And keep it up for the next 100 years.”

In looking towards the future, Fahy added, “Let’s hope it will be another tremendous hundred years and more. And thank you for all that you do in the community—I’m very proud to be a member, and I’m incredibly appreciative of what each of you do within your institutions to serve your members, and more importantly, serve the entire community.”

In addition to the lawmakers, remarks were also made by credit union leaders Marie Betti, CEO/treasurer of Western New York FCU and the Association board chairwoman; Michael Tobler, who serves on the board at Albany Firemen’s FCU and at the Association; and Frank DeGraw, president/CEO of Sunmark FCU and an Association board member.

Each credit union leader shared personal stories about how their credit union has impacted the lives of members.

“The old cliché is, ‘At a credit union, you’re more than just a number; you’re a member,’” explained Betti. “That saying has become cliché because it’s true. And at other financial institutions, the leadership might ask, ‘How is this good for our shareholders?’ But at a credit union, we’re always asking, ‘How is this good for our members?’”

The event concluded with a representative from Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s office announcing a citation from the governor, who congratulated the Association and the state’s credit unions on an extraordinarily successful century of service.

To view pictures from the event, or to view a recorded version of the rally in its entirety, visit the Association’s Facebook page.

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