Yes, the Empire Branch 36 Credit Union is merging with a larger credit union. No one likes change, but this is a blessing in disguise and there is no need to panic.
This merger was ordered by the New York State Banking Department that deals with credit unions. The banking department determined there was little or no growth in our credit union. We were on the right track until the pandemic hit, but the banking department didn’t have time for excuses. The choice was either liquidate or merge. No one’s money is at risk. Your shares (savings) are guaranteed up to $250,000.00 per person, the same as a regular bank.
We have received many calls from carriers who say they will be withdrawing their shares before the merge takes place. My advice to them is to wait and see. You will be pleasantly surprised about the additional benefits you will have from a larger credit union with assets of $54 million. Our credit union had $4 million in assets.
The biggest inconvenience that I can see is that we won’t have a credit union in our union building. It is true that the new credit union’s main office is in Rockland County, NY. It is a part of Shared Branching with 5400 shared branches throughout the US, which can be utilized for withdrawals, deposits and loan payments. You can go on their website or use their mobile app to check for the nearest location whether at home, work or vacation. These shared branches deal with cash and checks for withdrawals and deposits.
The credit union’s new name will be Rockland Employees Federal Credit Union. The website is www.refcu.org. Their direct phone number is 845-371- 3411. Credit union members who usually call for withdrawals may continue to do so at the same 212 number and the fax is remaining the same as well. Those members who use their credit union debit card may continue to do so.
Applying for loans can be done at the Rockland office or online. Loan applications are not done at the shared branch network. The new credit union will also offer car loans and mortgages, as well as personal (holiday & vacation) and debt consolidation loans.
Retirees and active carriers who have direct deposit with the credit union will remain unchanged. The new credit union will update the routing number and account numbers with OPM and or the Postal Service. Our credit union wanted to send all members a letter back in June, but the New York Banking Department advised them not to do it until it was approved by New York State Department of Financial Services. The approval was given on July 28, 2021. I was informed that a letter will be included in the July/August credit union statement envelopes.
Please don’t panic with the news of this merger. I suggest that you give it a wait and see, but it is your money and only you can decide what to do with it.