by Alexandra Muto
Two local credit unions, the Greater Niagara Federal Credit Union and North Tonawanda Community Federal Credit Union merged together on April 8 of this year. Carolyn DuBois, president and CEO of the Greater Niagara Federal Credit Union, which now encompasses both credit unions, said that by combining "operations (this serves) to maintain a financial foundation and expand products and services." By working as a joint enterprise, the benefits of credit union membership will increase for members wishing to utilize the respective credit unions' services, she said.
Credit unions, which allow members to deposit their monetary savings, differ from banks by operating as non-profits and offering better loan and credit rates to members. By granting business ownership to their members and investing shareholders' money to earn profit, credit unions offer a personal, self-driven and interactive experience.
The merged Greater Niagara Federal Credit Union hopes to increase investors' positive experiences by offering new services unavailable to members prior to the merger. As DuBois noted, "We have added more services from the Greater Niagara Credit Union for North Tonawanda members that they (lacked, including) home banking and bill pay."
DuBois explained that home banking allows users to complete financial transactions from their computers on the credit union's website, and bill pay allows users to pay their bills from home.
With the merge, more people are eligible to join the credit union and earn these great benefits.
According to DuBois, the Greater Niagara Federal Credit Union's charter states that those who "live, work, worship, or go to school or do business in Niagara County," can join. However, the definitions for these categories were stricter. Now those eligible in North Tonawanda can join either location, and the charter has been adjusted to allow for greater membership availability.
The credit union hopes to improve its customer service and customer satisfaction by serving a wider group of patrons.
The combined credit union will also provide greater accessibility to members. Both buildings remain in operation, making credit union access simpler. The Greater Niagara location is open on Saturday mornings. These expanded hours will increase convenience for those needing to visit offices on the weekend.
The quantity of locations and hours will not affect the quality of the credit unions. The daily procedures of the business promise to remain nearly the same. DuBois says that only definite change is "the opening of a few more staff positions" with the merger.
The heightened efficiency of the credit union will surely ease any members concerned about the merge. As opposed to faltering from the credit union's mission, the merger now allows the business to operate the process of membership while offering benefits that will surely please all members.
In addition to the expansion, members have future services to look forward to as well. DuBois mentioned that "a new website (for the Credit Union) is in the works, which will offer more services and be interactive and up-to-date." Membership in the merged credit unions offers promising financial prospects to dedicated investors.
To learn more about membership and benefits of the two credit unions, visit www.greaterniagarafcu.com or call 297-5944.