Chris Hay, President/CEO Dannemora Federal Credit Union
Do you believe changing credit unions from the traditional membership model to one that competes directly with banks is the wave of the future?
Credit unions will always follow a membership/ cooperative model. Our priority is serving our members and communities. As financial services have become more complex, there was a need for credit unions to gain the scale needed to be able to offer a complete product set. This happened for DFCU as we have grown from originally serving the employees of the State Hospital in Dannemora to serving the communities of Clinton, Franklin, Essex, and St. Lawrence Counties. We do not look to grow to compete with banks. We grow so that we can continue to invest in and support our local community while putting the needs of our members ahead of profits.
What are you doing to stay ahead of cyber criminals?
This is always at the top of our mind and we working every day to ensure that we are safe and secure. We contract with different vendors to monitor, test and enhance our infrastructure as well as train our staff on current trends and risks. We also try to work to educate our members on the risks and what they can do to be safe. It is a never-ending process and is always at the top of our priority list.
How are increased financial services regulations impacting your operation?
Each year we spend more effort on the increasing regulatory requirements. There is a lack of common sense being applied to regulatory initiatives and the “one size fits all approach” just isn’t effective. Across the banking industry the regulatory process has gotten out of hand because some of the large financial institutions put profit before people. Serving our members is always our focus and we do not need more regulations to ensure we are doing the right thing.
To what degree is local community reinvestment of your deposits a priority?
This is at the heart of DFCU and credit unions in general. Everything we do stays local. Deposits are used to fund loans to our community members and businesses. This allows us to help local families purchase a home, buy a car, get a loan to help them through a hard time, or to expand their business. All of the funds from the loans end up back in our community allowing DFCU to reinvest and helping our members and community. As an example, because of the pandemic we donated an additional $45,000 in 2020 to support the United Way of the Adirondack Region and our local hospitals.
How has the pandemic changed your business?
We needed to offer our members a virtual alternative to meet their banking needs. Prior to the pandemic we completed investments in our ATM network, mobile and online banking products, digital account opening, and loan origination. Our members now have the option of in-person interactions or conducting their banking transactions from the comfort of their home. I think the pandemic accelerated the consumer adoption of digital banking services by five years.
Established in 1958, Dannemora Federal Credit Union (DFCU) is a non-profit credit union serving the people of Clinton, Franklin, Essex, and St. Lawrence Counties. Membership includes those living, working, studying, or attending school in our four-county area.
With over 19,000 members, 50 staff, four branch locations, and robust digital services, DFCU offers a full range of financial services including residential mortgages, consumer and commercial loans. Our people take pride in our mission to be our members’ primary financial institution by providing quality services, exceeding member expectations and supporting our local community. DFCU is “Small enough to know you. Large enough to serve you.”
Dannemora Federal Credit Union
Headquarters: 344 Tom Miller Road
Plattsburgh, NY 12901