Banking at Its Best—Credit Union Delivers Financial Services with Heart
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Quietly, a major shift is taking place in the financial services industry. Over the past ten years, roughly 28 million consumers have chosen to use a credit union as their primary bank. And credit unions continue adding members at a record pace.
Eric M. Hepkins, CEO of Cornerstone Community Federal Credit Union (CCFCU) that services Niagara and Erie County, New York, attributes this phenomenon to credit union’s reputation for helping rather than making a profit. He is now able to use his in-depth understanding of the financial services industry to better serve anyone who lives, works, volunteers, or worships in Niagara or Erie County. “Historically, credit unions and financial cooperatives started as a grassroots movement of people,” he explains. “More than six decades after we were founded, we are still a nonprofit organization led by a local volunteer board. Decisions are made exclusively for the benefit of members, not those of stockholders.”
Trust—The Credit Union Difference
When members walk in the door of any of CCFCU’s five offices, they are welcomed by personal financial advocates whose primary concern is how they can make a positive difference in a family’s and the community’s financial wellbeing. “You are treated like an owner because you are one. Every product, every service is designed to meet the wants and needs of individual members,” says Hepkins who left the profit motivated retail banking world behind after more than 17 years. He is now able to use his in-depth understanding of the financial services industry to better serve anyone who lives, works, volunteers or worships in Niagara and Erie County.
Fortunately, this old-fashioned personal attention doesn’t mean members have to forgo the conveniences, value and services they expect from their bank. CCFCU’s earnings are continually plowed right back into the pockets of members in the form of better rates, over-the-top services including retirement planning/investment, CURTIS telephone banking, online banking services 24/7 and more.
Borrowers benefit from competitive rates on credit cards and loans for homes, vehicles, personal use, recreational activities, home equity, home improvement, and lines-of-credit. They also enjoy the benefits of membership -- personal relationships with lending officers.
“We use both our heart and our head to make lending decisions. Decisions are made locally, without unnecessary red tape. We don’t depend solely on a black-and-white formula, but we carefully consider what is in the best interest of the member,” says Hepkins. “We even go so far as to refer members to another financial institution if we don’t have the best product for them.”
“I’m forever grateful and blessed that CCFCU is always there to help,” said a member who was adopting two daughters from abroad. “The bank I had been using for years turned down my loan request for one of the girl’s plane tickets saying, ‘we’re not in the business of buying children.’ But CCFCU celebrated with us on this occasion. They loaned the amount I needed for the ticket and gave me a loan for an additional $1,000 to purchase clothing for the girls. The rates were very good and the only stipulation they made was that I would bring in the children so they could welcome them into our community,” explained the new mom.
A few years later the same member again came to CCFCU for a line-of-credit to provide a safety net during the months immediately after her husband died. “It’s clear their only mission is to serve the needs of real people,” she said.
“We are all committed to the welfare of this community,” says Hepkins. “It’s never an interruption when a member wants to talk about how we can help. We view every member contact as an opportunity to find ways we can improve lives.”
cornerstonecommunityfcu.org | 1.800.488.6481 | 716.434.2290 Lockport • Middleport • Niagara Falls • North Tonawanda
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