NCUA VICE CHAIRMAN VISITS THE LARGEST ETHNIC CREDIT UNION
Hon. Rodney Hood Speaks
At Polish & Slavic Federal Credit Union
BROOKLYN, NY (June 17, 2009) – As many banks struggle to pass the stress tests and stay afloat despite being granted federal lifelines, the credit union movement weathers the storm with flying colors. The continuing financial soundness of credit unions is of utmost importance to the nation’s credit union governing body, whose representative recently took a first hand look at how one of its local credit unions has thrived by never forgetting its roots.
On his visit to Greenpoint, Brooklyn, the neighborhood that spawned the Polish & Federal Credit Union, Rodney E. Hood, vice-chairman of the National Credit Union Administration, witnessed how the success of both neighborhood and institution were so closely entwined.
“It is so impressive to see how this neighborhood has continued to experience such positive changes over the past few decades, and much of that credit has to go to the PSFCU which has proven to be Greenpoint’s most active advocate,” said Mr. Hood. “It’s wonderful to see this symbiotic relationship at work between neighborhood and credit union.”
“As I drove through Greenpoint, the birthplace of your credit union, I saw how an older rundown neighborhood has benefited from your commitment to providing great financial services to the community,” Hood said to the assembled members of the PSFCU. “When a management team pairs with dedicated community leaders – whom you have on your board of directors – the outcome is a financial institution that posts great financial results.”
The PSFCU has been instrumental in bringing prosperity to all of the neighborhoods it serves. Mr. Hood pointed to the PSFCU’s rapid growth over the past year, its banking innovations, and its generous donations and ambitious scholarship programs as examples of how it has become a strong and successful community leader.
“You can say that we are the ‘un-bank’,” said Bogdan Chmielewski, the PSFCU’s CEO. “We continue to make good loans – smart, well-secured loans - and we are deeply involved in improving the prospects not only of our members, but the cities, towns and neighborhoods where they live and work. We’ve expanded far beyond Greenpoint over the years, but we’ve never uprooted our commitment to serving our members, no matter where they live.”
Mr. Hood, who visited Poland a few years ago, drew a parallel between the spirit of the Polish people and the success of the Brooklyn-based hometown credit union. “This year, the Polish people celebrate the 20th anniversary of shaking off communism and embracing democracy. You can see how the yearning for democracy that characterized the Polish immigrants who created the PSFCU contributed to the growth of this institution,” Mr. Hood said.
During the course of the meeting, Mr. Hood, who was impressed with PSFCU’s sheer volume of financial help granted to the community, answered questions on the issues concerning the corporate credit unions and the impact their problems might have on “natural person” credit unions. He emphasized that the credit union movement is getting stronger, as more consumers are attracted to its safe financial practices.
Following Mr. Hood’s comments at the PSFCU, Mr. Krzysztof Matyszczyk, PSFCU Chairman of the Board of Directors, replied: “I know I am speaking for all of us when I say ‘thank you’ for your support and involvement in the growth of the credit union industry, and it feels good when someone as dedicated to the credit union movement as you sees and appreciates the results.”