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Former NBA Player Jay Williams Teaches Kids Fiscal Responsibility

Former NBA Player Jay Williams Teaches Kids Fiscal Responsibility

From the time children are old enough to swing a bat, strap on ice skates or dribble, pass and catch a basketball or football, a common dream is to pretend to be their heroes that play professionally. However, most children don't know what other things professionals have to do in order to be successful.

Around 100 kids at the Boys & Girls Club of Western Broome, in Endicott, recently learned about one of the less glamorous aspects of being a pro athlete, fiscal responsibility, from former NBA player Jay Williams, who shares a common bond. "I spent time at the Boys & Girls Club in Plainford, New Jersey when I was (being) raised. I think the Boys & Girls Club is the first place I learned how to play real basketball," Williams said after the Aug. 12 talk. "Spending time with these kids is what's important." Williams was a two-time first-team All-American and won a National Championship with Duke in 2001, then was drafted second overall by the Chicago Bulls in 2002. His NBA career ended abruptly after one season due to injuries sustained in a 2003 motorcycle accident. Since his playing career ended, Williams became a motivational speaker and entrepreneur, as well as a television analyst, first for CBS, and now at ESPN. Earlier in the day, Williams was named Visions Federal Credit Union spokesperson in a ceremony at the branch office at McKinley Avenue in Endicott.

In the days before Williams' visit, the staff at the Boys & Girls Club had students look up some facts about him. Staff members then led cheers and got the kids pumped up for when Williams made his entrance, and he kept the audience engaged the entire time. Williams called up a student, Brandon Warren, of Vestal, and told him he would be the first pick in the NBA Draft. After quizzing the kids on how much the top player chosen makes ($3.4 million), Williams asked Warren questions about how to spend the money. "A Bugatti? Wow," Williams exclaimed after the 14-year-old said his first purchase would be the $1 million French-made car. From there, Warren spent $1 million on a house for his parents, $500,000 on a place for himself, $100,000 on a wardrobe and $30,000 on a watch. "I just watch a lot of basketball," Warren said. "I play a lot of NBA (video) games, so it's kind of realistic." With $2.63 million of the $3.4 million spent, Williams brought up a few things kids might not think of. For example, the NBA season (along with being paid) doesn't start until October. Also professional athletes need to pay their agents. Finally, there is that three-letter word most adults hate. "Who here has heard of a word called "tax"? Guess what, when you make over a certain amount of money, the government has you in the highest tax bracket, around 45 percent," Williams explained. "So pretty much take that $3 million and cut it in half. Brandon spent $2.63 million, so he's in debt."

Before Williams took on students in brief one-on-one (sometimes two-on-one) games, he asked students to think about taking an interest in math, since knowledge of the subject is the key to a better financial future. "Everybody wants to make a lot of money, but the fact of the matter is that it doesn't happen to everybody," he said. "The more you prepare for dreams, the higher the chance of your dreams coming true." On the court, it took a bit for Williams' jump shot to warm up, but when it did, he used it, along with a quick first step, to defeat every challenger. "I haven't played professional basketball since the year 2003, but I can still play in the NBA. If I had one game a week, I could hold my own," he said. "So to come out here and play against some of these kids that think they're like the guy, and then me telling them I haven't played in 12 years, it gives them a better understanding of how hard you need to work to achieve your goals." While they may not realize it now, hopefully one day, the children at the Boys & Girls Club will think back to this talk. It's not every day that a professional like Jay Williams takes time to teach them, not just about the sport he plays, but also about how to be successful, whether they become professional athletes or not. "I think this is exciting for them," said Visions FCU President and CEO Ty Muse. "I think back to my childhood and these are the things I remember in life, when someone came to my town and reminded me that I was important."

Kevin Rakas, EDT August 15, 2015 4:26 p.m.

Original source:

Visions Provides Free Family Movie Night Outdoors

SPENCER- This Saturday, Spencerites of all ages are welcome to a free movie showing in Nichols Park. The film, part of a series organized by the Tioga Arts Council (TAC), will start at dusk – sometime around 8:30 or 8:45 p.m. This is the second year that TAC has hosted the Kids' Night Out film series. Last year there was less funding and most of it came through Historic Owego Marketplace, so all of the events were in Owego. This year, though, Visions Federal Credit Union is sponsoring and they've provided enough money to move the events to different places around the county. Abbey Hendrickson, TAC's executive director, said, "We're excited to be able to bring them to other parts of the county." The first event was a showing of Frozen at the Newark Valley Historical Society on Aug. 1. After the Spencer event, where the film will be Big Hero 6, Paddington will air at the Trout Ponds in Newark Valley on the Aug. 22. Finally, Ghostbusters will run in Draper Park on Front Street in Owego on Sept. 12.

The movies are shown on a 24-foot-high inflatable screen and event attendees typically bring their own lawn chairs or blankets for comfortable viewing. Village of Spencer Trustee Erika Brown, who has been the village liaison helping to plan the event, said that the screen will be set up on the Park Street side of the park. She said, "We will do it where Music in the Park is because we're going to do a drive-in theme so the kids can make cardboard box cars." Hendrickson said, "Last year we had over 400 people for Frozen – close to 500 – and the lowest we had was 200 people, so they've been really popular and we're hoping to continue the series next year. The film featured in Spencer, Big Hero 6, is a 2014 Walt Disney 3D cartoon comedy. The film follows the story of Hiro Hamada, a robotics prodigy. After stumbling into a plot in the streets of San Franksokyo, Hiro enlists the help of Baymax, his lovable robot companion, and his friends Go Go Tomago, Wasabi, Honey lemon, and Fred. Together they become a team of heroes, fighting a masked hero to ensure that good prevails.

Keri Blakinger, Friday, August 7, 2015 12:15 am

Original source:

Visions Funds Mural Mosaic Project for Downtown Binghamton

Visions Funds Mural Mosaic Project for Downtown Binghamton

Binghamton artist Emily Jablon - along with the help of local middle school and high school students - is close to completing another piece of her mosaic project in downtown Binghamton. The newest addition - an approximately 200-foot-long strip of tiled mosaic - runs parallel to the banks of the Susquehanna River and features swirling abstract patterns of blue, yellow, purple and orange, as well as shiny triangles, checkered patterns and the message "Be Inspired, Be Binghamton."

Jablon was initially approached by Visions Federal Credit Union, which wanted to support her glass-tile-themed public art. After deciding to decorate the wall that hugs the pathway along the Susquehanna River just off Court Street, Jablon approached the owner of the building, who gave his approval.

Jablon then turned to Binghamton University's Liberty Partnerships Program, an initiative meant to help high school and middle school kids stay on track to graduate through volunteer and community service efforts. Over the past three weeks, between 30 and 40 kids from the Susquehanna Valley and Owego school districts have spent time helping to bring the mosaic project to life.

"I think it is awesome for them to be doing positive things in our community," said Liberty Partnership Program coordinator Tracey Parker. "This is something that is going to be here forever, and they are always going to say, ‘That's my community. That's what we did.'" Under the guidance of Jablon, the students assembled the tile by gluing it to mesh strips in the studio. Once settled, the strips with tiles attached were cut into jigsaw-like pieces and brought to the scene, where mortar was applied to the wall and the tiles were set into place. Grout was then used to fill the cracks between the tiles to further secure them.

With only a few feet of the mural missing grout, the project is expected to be completed sometime this week. "It was kind of new to me, so I thought it was pretty good for my first time ever doing mosaics. It was fun," said Jason Moelder, 15, of Conklin, who helped on the project. "It's a really good feeling to know that we made a mark on this town," said Brooke Osterhout, 19, of Conklin, an alumni of Liberty Partnership who continues to help with the program. "I grew up here, and it's cool to know that something I helped to do is here." Over the past five years, Jablon and her friends have been donating their time and materials to beautify the Court Street Bridge and the surrounding park area. "I have kind of adopted this corner of Binghamton, and I've had my eye on this building for quite a while now," Jablon said.

Visions Federal Credit Union fully funded the project, which cost $15,000. According to Ty Muse, president and CEO of Visions Federal Credit Union, the credit union was interested in supporting Jablon's vision after seeing her previous work. "It first came from just seeing the work that Emily had done and saying to her, ‘If you could give me a wish list of something you would do that you think would be a bright spot in Binghamton, what would you do?'" Muse said.

For Jablon - who says she hopes to resurrect a fountain in the park with a similar mosaic theme next - the purpose of her artwork is to inspire. "I think (the art) re-energizes (downtown). I think the wording ("Be inspired, be Binghamton") confirms this positive movement that Binghamton is going through," Jablon said. "To be inspired is kind of what started this whole mosaic corner, inspiration, and I hope it inspires others."

Andrew Thayer, EDT August 4, 2015 7:33 p.m.

Original source:

Young Leaders Meet to Make a Difference

Young Leaders Meet to Make a Difference

Dozens of young professionals milled about under a white tent Tuesday morning sipping coffee and chatting with fellow businesspeople, gathered to learn more about a professional development and community service group they have been invited to join.

"Our goal is to bring talent together," Dr. Larry Dake, principal of George F. Johnson elementary school and steering committee member of the Emerging Leaders Society said.

United Way of Broome County hosted the recruiting breakfast Tuesday at Traditions at the Glen in Johnson City as the first event for the Emerging Leaders Society.

Timothy Strong, co-chair of the society, said its mission is to develop the future leaders of Broome County by establishing positive community events and programs, providing educational opportunities to support the development of future leaders and fostering personal and professional relationships.

Society steering committee members representing Binghamton University, Visions Federal Credit Union, Coughlin & Gerhart, Levene Gouldin & Thompson, Union-Endicott Central Schools and i3 Electronics, hand-selected attendees at the event as prospective society members.

Les Howard, director of resource development for United Way of Broome County, said the Broome County Emerging Leaders Society joins 140 groups already established through the United Way around the country.

Here in Broome County, the group will provide a combination of service opportunities and social networking.

Timothy Strong, business development manager at Visions Federal Credit Union and co-chair of the society, said one of the society's goals is to strengthen the community by creating highly visible service projects.

"One of the main reasons we are here is community involvement and giving back to the community," he said.

Jenna Rosenberg, assistant vice president at Visions Federal Credit Union and co-chair of the society, said she was a past member of a sister society in the Hudson Valley, called Young Leaders United, and found being part of the group an asset in an unfamiliar setting.

"It really grounded me into that community and helped me to have a really successful experience in a brand new community," she said.

Rosenberg said being partnered with the United Way gives the group an immediate connection to community organizations and a way to tailor their efforts to have the most impact on the local community.

"We are the future of Broome County," Rosenberg said.

Steering committee members first met in January, and Tuesday marked the first official event put on by the Emerging Leaders Society, made up of early to mid-career professionals.

Dake said that the Emerging Leaders Society hopes to make involvement as accessible and easy as possible.

Society members should have a desire to make sustainable, positive change in Broome County, and are asked to complete an online application form, provide a donation to the United Way and participate in one sponsored event a year.

Olivia Schofield, Watson Career & Alumni Connections coordinator at Binghamton University, was invited to the event by steering committee member Courtney Huff, who is the assistant director of Alumni Relations at Binghamton University.

Schofield has been in search of a professional development group to join, but wanted to find an organization where she will also be able to use her creativity.

"I wanted to do something fun, with a way to help different groups," she said. "I was born and raised here, want to stay in the community, and I'm looking to make it better."

Schofield plans to join the volunteer committee of the Emerging Leaders Society.

September 11 marks the first scheduled volunteer opportunity for the society, collaborating with the Tri-Cities Opera for a Day of Caring project.

For more information or to join the Emerging Leaders Society, visit


Officials Preview This Year's Spiedie Fest

Binghamton (WIVT) - Organizers are promising the best Spiedie Fest and Balloon Rally ever when the three day festival gets underway this Friday. Broome County officials held a news conference at Otsiningo Park today to promote the area's premier festival. Highlights include a performance of Rock and Roll Hall of Fame member Joan Jett and the Blackhearts on Friday, the giant Neptune special shape balloon, and the spiedie cooking and eating contests on Sunday. Broome County Executive Debbie Preston said Spiedie Fest has been a great asset to the community over the years. "Over the past 30 years, the Spiedie Fest has reported more than one million dollars in donations to over 150 local charities, and I just have to commend them for that. In addition to that, it provides millions of dollars in economic development to our community by bringing thousands of visitors into Broome County," she said. Among the new features this year, a full midway of rides including a Ferris wheel, a beer garden, Taste New York tent with Empire State products and the Corning Museum of Glass mobile demonstration.

Probably most significant, Friday evening, there will be no charge at the gates courtesy of Visions Federal Credit Union. "We just see this as an opportunity to give back to the over 70,000 local members that we have and then just the greater community in general. So, hopefully everyone has a chance to come out Friday night, have a good time, and enjoy everything that this event has to offer," said Tim Strong of Visions Federal Credit Union.

While the gate is free Friday, you still need a Spiedie Fest button to enter the concert area and see Joan Jett. Buttons are $25 and on sale until 6 p.m. Friday. For a list of button locations and complete schedule of events, go to

Copyright 2015 Nexstar Broadcasting, All rights reserved.


 Visions Federal Credit Union Turns Remodeling into Donation Opportunity

Visions Federal Credit Union Turns Remodeling into Donation Opportunity

ENDICOTT - Visions Federal Credit Union’s promise to be there at "every stage of life" for members now quite literally extends to the community. The credit union recently set the stage for great performances at local theaters with a creative donation. Seats, curtains and rigging systems left over from Visions' own auditorium remodeling have taken residence at Goodwill Theatre in Johnson City and other community theaters across the region.

"Visions Federal Credit Union is a community-based, community-focused organization," said Lisa Darling, assistant vice president of operations, research and development. "With several nonprofit theater organizations serving the local community, we were hopeful someone could benefit from the donation and we’re delighted to have the items adopted."

The Goodwill Theatre was able to use or share the donated items with others like the Chenango River Theatre in Greene. Visions' remodeled, state-of-the-art auditorium located at its headquarters in Endwell will be utilized for member seminars on financial literacy and staff training programs.

Visions Federal Credit Union TV Spot Earns National Recognition

Visions Federal Credit Union TV Spot Earns National Recognition

ENDICOTT, N.Y. - Visions Federal Credit Union recently received a Telly Award for its "Life's a Stage" television spot.

The live-action commercial produced by ABC Creative Group of Syracuse follows a young man from college, to marriage, homeownership and finally retirement all in about 30 seconds.

"This fast-paced commercial tells the story of many of our members and shows how Visions is here to help through all of life's scripted - and unscripted - moments," Visions Marketing Manager Mandy DeHate said. "It's nice to be recognized as a winner among our peers, and to share credit for this award with the actors, Red House Arts Center and, of course, ABC!"

The bronze Telly in the bank category is the first for Visions, a 175,000-member credit union with locations in New York, Pennsylvania and New Jersey.

"Visions let us have a lot of fun with this one and the result was a very creative, effective spot," ABC Owner/Creative Director Travis Bort said. "We’re very proud to have award-winning video services producing everything from online content to broadcast-ready commercials right here in house."

Founded in 1978 to honor the best in local, regional and cable TV commercials, the Tellys now recognize a broad range of categories and receive some 12,000 entries from all 50 states and five continents.

Visions supports Elmira Jackals for Star Wars weekend

ELMIRA, NY - June 9, 2015 - The Elmira Jackals, ECHL affiliate of the NHL's Buffalo Sabres and the AHL's Rochester Americans, are excited to announce that they are joining forces with Visions Federal Credit Union to bring Star Wars to First Arena. In anticipation of the release of Star Wars: Episode VII - The Force Awakens the Elmira Jackals will host Star Wars Weekend at First Arena on December 11th and 12th.

"Star Wars: Episode VII - The Force Awakens will hit theaters on December 18th," said Bob Thomas, Elmira Jackals Vice President. "Now is a great time to host the first Star Wars Weekend in our program's history. We look forward to fan participation in the theme weekend."

The Jackals will be wearing licensed Star Wars jerseys, which will be auctioned off after Saturday's game. The Star Wars theme will be prominently displayed throughout the weekend's games and in concourse at First Arena.

"Visions Federal Credit Union is a proud member of the greater Elmira community and we are excited to support the Jackals and their fans on the newest endeavor," said Timothy Strong, Visions Federal Credit Union Business Development Manager.

Visions FCU and the Elmira Jackals will also be donating a portion of the jersey auction proceeds to a local charity. Stay tuned for more information regarding our community partner.

NYCUA Honors Visions Federal Credit Union with Two Recognition Awards

(Endicott, N.Y.) As part of its annual recognition of credit unions' contributions to the industry and members, the New York Credit Union Association honored Visions Federal Credit Union with two prestigious awards.

Visions earned the Louise Herring Philosophy in Action Member Service Award through its successful internal programs and services that improve members' lives. The Dora Maxwell Social Responsibility Community Service Award recognizes Visions' efforts to support local institutions and the public through community outreach programs.

The NYCUA will recognize Visions Federal Credit Union and other award winners at the 2015 Annual Meeting & Convention hosted at The Sagamore Resort June 11 - 14 in Bolton Landing, New York.

Unlocking Your Home's Equity

Home ownership has benefits. One of those benefits is the ability to use the equity you've built for other financial needs such as home improvements. A home equity loan can also be used for various financial needs such as repairs, debt consolidation, vacations or college expenses.

There is a specific difference between a home equity loan and a home equity line of credit. A home equity line of credit is a line of revolving credit with an adjustable interest rate whereas a home equity loan is issued as a one-time lump sum, often with a fixed interest rate.

While not for everyone, a home equity line of credit can unlock your home's potential or provide quick, low-interest cash for other expenses. Home equity loans tend to have lower rates than others because the value you've built in your home acts as security. In addition, the interest you pay on many home equity loans may be tax deductible.

The process is simple.

Contact your lender to determine what options are available. As part of the application process, a lender reviews the current appraisal value of your home versus what you owe. Most will lend anywhere between 80 to 100 percent of that equity, depending on a number of factors including credit score.

Let's assume your home is appraised at $150,000 and your lender gives you 80 percent of the value of your home less what is owed on your first mortgage. You currently owe a first mortgage of $80,000. That would give you a home equity line of credit for up to $40,000.

Though metro Rochester lags behind national averages, most popular home improvements have a decent resale value in this market, according to a 2011-12 report produced by Remodeling magazine.

The average price of several mid-range renovations shows that our example home equity line of credit of $40,000 could do a lot of work. According to the Remodeling data, you might expect to pay a professional about:

  • $11,000 to install new windows or siding
  • $16,000 to upgrade the bathroom
  • $19,000 for a minor kitchen makeover
  • $20,000 to replace the roof

Compare those sample averages to the estimated resale value and you're looking at a 40 to 50 percent return on investment: Not a bad idea whether you're sticking around or plan to sell in a few years.

Whatever you might need the money for, it pays to investigate the value of your home and the opportunities equity can offer.

Source: Democrat and Chronicle,

Visions Federal Credit Union Chief Marketer Honored

Visions Federal Credit Union Chief Marketer Honored

SYRACUSE, N.Y. - Central New York Sales & Marketing Executives recognized Visions Federal Credit Union Marketing Manager Mandy DeHate with its signature honor April 16 at the 39th Annual Crystal Ball.

A recipient of the 2015 CNYSME Sales & Marketing Excellence Award, DeHate is responsible for building the brand of the 175,000-member credit union and its 39 offices across three states.

"Mandy has done a fantastic job bringing the Visions name to the community with a consistently clean look and clear voice," DeHate's nomination read. "She has only been in this vast role for 20 months and has done wonders in that time."

A marketing professional with Visions for more than 10 years, DeHate earned her bachelor’s degree in advertising from Ferris State University.

Central New York Sales & Marketing Executives was founded in 1935. The only organization focused exclusively on the needs of sales and marketing professionals, CNYSME is the recognized voice of the industry in Central New York. Visit for more information.

Teaching Students Sense About Dollars

First grader Angelina Kane of Elmira is already planning her investments. The Diven Elementary School student is thinking about saving money to purchase materials to make a dress. She dreams of becoming a fashion designer, but knows she needs a business plan that assures she can sell the dress for more than she spends to create it.

She got her money savvy after taking part in a Junior Achievement program that teaches personal finance, economics and the importance of job readiness. Southern Tier students like Angelina are getting life lessons in money from a partnership of educators, non-profit organizations and local businesses. They have banded together to teach the next generation of consumers and workers how to manage their money.

Julie Keenan of Binghamton is a business teacher in charge of the Broome Tioga New Visions Business Academy, a program run through BOCES, that teaches personal finance and economics to high achieving high school seniors.

"Money is money. Everyone has to deal with it and might as well be smart about it," Keenan said. Many of her students, on a scale of 1-10 grading their knowledge of personal finance prior to entering her program, are a four Keenan said. "When they leave me they are at a nine or a 10. They love it, they are very interested in learning how to make their money grow," Keenan said.

Everything from how to write a check to how to calculate compound interest is taught. However, as a parent of children who are in or going to be in the Binghamton City School District, Keenan bemoaned that many school districts don't have the budget or resources to fully invest in teaching business and finance to students.

"I would love to see this taught consistently through school, my daughter is in kindergarten, and I am already trying to get her comfortable saving money," Keenan said. However, having had her position as a business teacher at a Binghamton area school cut due to budgetary reasons, she said she knows that is not the reality. "It was a loss for those students," she said.

To help fill that void a combination of non-profit organizations, like Junior Achievement of Central Upstate New York, and local businesses, like the Alternatives Federal Credit Union in Ithaca, are working with school districts.

Joe Cummins, Community Development Educator for Alternatives, said Alternatives has been helping teach personal finance in schools since 1998. "Surveys kept showing that high school seniors were failing financial literacy surveys year after year," said Cummins of Ithaca. Cummins, who works in school districts throughout Tompkins County, said a lifelong habit of consistently adding to a savings account is one that is best started early. "A lot of people say that saving was never a priority. That's where paycheck to paycheck comes from. Right now we have elementary school children with savings. A lot of kids call it a college fund. That's incredible," Cummins said.

He recounted how one elementary school age girl saved for three years to buy a puppy.

Mandy DeHate, marketing manager for Visions Federal Credit Union said Visions operates a series of programs at school districts throughout the greater Binghamton area. "We want students to know about finance early on so there are no surprises later in life, like when they want a new car or even something as simple as a new cell phone," said DeHate of Endicott.

Amy Shaw, vice president of member services for the Greater Binghamton Chamber of Commerce, called programs like the ones Junior Achievement, Visions and Alternatives operates critical. "I don't think students are necessarily getting those kinds of classes in school without them, and they may not always learn financial literacy skills at home," said Shaw of Binghamton. Tammy Schoonover, executive director of Junior Achievement Central Upstate New York Twin Tier Region, said she has programs running in the Horseheads, Elmira and Corning school districts. "Our mission is teaching children to own their own success," said Schoonover of Big Flats.

To that end, Junior Achievement holds all-day sessions in elementary schools around the area filled with volunteers from local businesses. The programs are designed to teach students personal finance, economics and the importance of job readiness. Recently, Junior Achievement was in Diven Elementary School in Elmira with volunteers from several local area businesses for an all-day session that left many involved encouraged by the results.

Steven Burns, director of quality at Cameron Manufacturing said he took the day off to volunteer to speak. Burns, of Big Flats, complained that far too many students enter the workforce without the basic skills needed to succeed personally and professionally.

"But programs like this can really help," he said.

Acting Diven Building Administrator Heather Donovan said that it is good to expose the children to things they don't usually encounter in school. "I think we should be doing more of this, the children respond to it so well."

Second grade teacher Stephanie Roby agreed, adding that she enjoys the program because it teaches students about personal responsibility, which is vital to their development both as students and as people.

Original article: Ithaca Journal, Benjamin Klein, Correspondent 1:17 a.m. EDT, April 6, 2015.

Design, Functionality Drive New Visions Federal Credit Union App

ENDWELL, N.Y. - Visions Federal Credit Union recently unveiled its revamped app featuring many member friendly upgrades. The completely redesigned app streamlines navigation for a better, easier experience for smartphone and tablet users. New features include external transfers using the "Bill Pay" function and the ability to view pending transactions. The updated map feature identifies nearby Visions locations and hours in a convenient format. The new landscape rotation allows for multiple viewing angles. "We’re constantly collecting and listening to member feedback," Visions Marketing Manager Mandy DeHate said. "Not only do these enhancements create a better mobile banking experience for our members, but we also expect this state-of-the-art app to compete with some of the best in the industry." Search "Visions FCU Mobile" in the Apple App or Google Play stores on your favorite mobile device to get the app and start enjoying all the new features.

What keeps bankers up at night? Cyber crime

Cyber crime is among the biggest threats to banks locally and nationally. The people responsible for the safekeeping your money are kept awake at night by the latest scourge of the financial industry: cyber crime. And it's not only their own systems they worry about. They get the equivalent of panic attacks fretting about others - retailers, third-party vendors, and anyone who accepts electronic payments - whose digital records could be compromised by the slightest flaw in even the most ironclad security system. Ask Tyrone Muse, chief executive of the $3.4 billion Visions Federal Credit Union, about his greatest concern and he barely lets a nanosecond pass: "Cyber security." When Target's records were breached, the credit union replaced thousands of credit and debit cards. The expense wasn't borne by Target. Rather, the cost of notifying and replacing those cards was an expense paid by Visions as Muse and his staff tried to protect their 175,000 members from one of the worst financial crimes of modern day: credit fraud and identity theft.

In 2012, M&T Bank reissued 7,000 debit cards to cardholders who had been compromised because of identity theft, either as individuals or because a retailer had been hacked. In 2014, that number had grown to 294,000. Regionally, institutions believe that their systems are locked down. Even though no local or regional institution has been subject to a data breach, security remains top of mind for all ranks in the financial industry.

"Everybody needs to be on guard," said Peter Newman, regional president for M&T Bank in the Southern Tier. Warnings about the cyber security issue have also been sounded by New York's top financial industry regulator. "I am deeply worried that we are soon going to see a major cyber attack aimed at the financial system that is going to make all of us to shudder," said Benjamin M. Lawsky, New York's superintendent of financial service in remarks delivered at Columbia Law School in late February.

In the United States alone, some 40 million people were affected by cybercrime in 2013, according to the Internet security firm McAfee. Experts predict the situation will only grow worse. "It is a huge issue," Stephan Rice, director of government relations and communications at the Albany-based Independent Bankers Association of New York, said of cyber security. "It is an evolving issue that has to be monitored every day."


  • Do not respond to unsolicited e-mail.
  • Do not click on links contained within an unsolicited e-mail.
  • Be cautious of e-mail claiming to contain pictures in attached files; the files may contain viruses. Only open attachments from known senders. Scan the attachments for viruses if possible.
  • Avoid filling out forms contained in e-mail messages that ask for personal information.
  • Always compare the link in the e-mail to the link you are actually directed to and determine if they match and will lead you to a legitimate site.
  • Log on directly to the official website for the business identified in the e-mail instead of "linking" to it from an unsolicited e-mail. If the e-mail appears to be from your bank, credit card issuer, or other company you deal with frequently, your statements or official correspondence from the business will provide the proper contact information.

Source: FBI

Original Article: Press Connects, Jeff Platsky, 7:04 a.m. EDT March 29, 2015.

Top credit unions in the Southern Tier

A list of the larger credit unions based in the region.

Broome County:

Visions Credit Union
Assets: $3.4 billion
Members: 175,000
Branches: 39

GHS Credit Union
Assets: $151 million
Members: 16,000
Branches: 3

Horizons Credit Union
Assets: $98.9 million
Members: 12,000
Branches: 3

Chemung County

Finger Lakes Health Care Credit Union
Assets: $22.6 million
Members: 2,900
Branches: 2

Solutions Credit Union
Assets: $21.8 million
Members: 3,800
Branches: 1

Tompkins County:

CFCU Credit Union
Assets: $906 million
Members: 63,000
Branches: 8

Alternatives Credit Union
Assets: $89.8 million
Members: 9,700
Branches: 1

Steuben County:

Corning Credit Union
Assets: $1.1 billion
Members: 94,000
Branches: 10

Source: NCUA and credit union web sites

Original Article: Press Connects, From staff reports, 7:06 a.m. EDT March 29, 2015.

4 Tips To Cut Your Monthly Bank Fees

Much of the country is still experiencing the worst of winter, with the savings of spring still far from reach. Although the official first day of spring isn't until March 20, those who have the fortune of residing in sunnier climates, or simply want to get a head start in clearing expensive clutter, can start getting proactive about their financial spring cleaning plans. GOBankingRates asked banking professions to share their biggest tips for tackling bank fees, and hopefully save more even before spring hits.

  1. Find Your Credit Union Champion
    "Everyone can lower the fees they pay by joining their local credit union; many of them still have fee-free checking accounts," said Tina Estes, assistant vice president of marketing at Ventura County Credit Union.Much backlash regarding bank fees has centered on the steep checking account fees charged by big banks. Larger, national financial institutions cater to the whims of external shareholders, which can hurt customers on a tight budget. The credit unions that Estes referred to, on the other hand, are nonprofit financial cooperatives that focus on returning profits to their members - who are also partial shareholders - in the form of competitive interest rates, exceptional customer service and low or no maintenance fees.
  2. Take Advantage of Debit Card Rewards
    "Checking accounts are a basic need, and they should be free," said Kyle Kolsky, SVP head of consumer deposits at Bank X. "Consumers should also earn rewards when using their debit cards - that's what Bank X is all about: modern banking that complements everyday life." Big banks might have done away with cash-back debit card rewards programs, but a new market has opened up for customers who want more just by going about their normal, everyday routines. Financial institutions like Bank X not only offer checking products without fees, but also give customers added perks like cash back when using their debit cards for purchases. At the end of the month, Bank X customers get a small cash-back bonus that is deposited directly into their X Checking accounts. Finding cash back offers like this makes it easy to save more money and dodge pesky bank fees entirely.
  3. Browse Your Bank's Fee Reference
    "When shopping for a financial institution, it is important to know the fees that are associated with their accounts and services. Start by looking for a 'fee' or 'service charge' schedule on its website," said a Visions Federal Credit Union representative. "Review the list of items and consider if any of these will impact you and your day-to-day finances." When opening a new savings or checking account, all customers are given a pamphlet with the account terms and conditions, including any bank fees that might apply in the event of an overdraft, out-of-network ATM withdrawal or even a monthly service charge. But not everyone likes to sit down and mull over fine print.Taking Visions Federal Credit Union’s advice of performing regular check-ins with your bank account's fee terms can help ensure you’re always aware of fee increases as they arise. Keep an eye out for an all-encompassing web page that lists all the possible fees your institution could hold you accountable for, and bookmark it on your web browser for easy reference.
  4. Plea Your Case
    "Let’s face it - sometimes bad things just happen. Those are times when bankers have the chance to truly demonstrate what they mean by 'customer service,'" said Warren Taylor, president of community banking for Customers Bank. "In such trying times, customers need to know that their banks will be there to help them, not increase the pain. Consumers should try to talk directly with their bankers, explain their circumstances and see what provisions can be worked out."Whether it's an ATM fee or an overdraft charge that was applied to your bank account, there's nothing wrong with contacting your bank or credit union directly to see what can be done based on your unique challenges. Financial institutions should be working for you, instead of against you; so, pick up the phone or make an in-person visit to your local branch to explain your stance and fully understand the options available to you.These are just a few helpful ways to lower how much you spend on costly bank fees and keep your bank account free of cumbersome charges.

Original Article:, March 27, 2015.

Visions Federal Credit Union Announces Promotion

Visions Federal Credit Union Announces Promotion

ENDWELL, N.Y. - Visions Federal Credit Union proudly announces the promotion of Jenna Rosenberg to assistant vice president of human resources.

Rosenberg previously served as human resources director. She will continue to be responsible for all human resources functions, including payroll and benefits, strategic recruitment, and training and development.

A member of the Visions team for one and a half years, Rosenberg is a graduate of Marist College with a master's in business administration and Cornell University with a degree in industrial and labor relations.

Students in Berks County Learn Important Lessons in Leadership

Students in Berks County Learn Important Lessons in Leadership

March 4, 2015 (Reading, PA) – 300 Berks County students will be empowered and inspired for their future as the Greater Reading Chamber of Commerce and Industry hosts the Young Leadership Conference Series: "Building Tomorrow’s Leaders Today" at Penn State Berks on Friday, March 13. Tenth and eleventh grade students from 14 schools across the County will be provided with the tools necessary to become confident leaders among their peers, while also having the opportunity to hear from keynote speakers, panel sessions, and participation in a networking luncheon with mentors from the business community. Students are divided into two tracks - a young men’s and a young women’s track, both with the theme of leadership.

The Young Men's track, Co-Chaired by Eric Savage, Freedom Auto Group, and Rick Wolf, Governor Mifflin School District, will include the following sessions: Finding Your Vision, Setting Your Goals, Embracing Your Vision, You Can Afford to Go: Plan It! (Prepared by Title Sponsor, VISIONS Federal Credit Union), and will also include Career Exploration Case Studies with panelists from the business community in seven different career areas. Keynote speakers will include a recorded video from John Hoke, VP of Global Design, Nike, Inc. to set the tone for the day, as well as Dr. Khalid Mumin, Superintendent of Reading School District, and Major General John L. Gronski, United States Army.

The Young Women's track, Co-Chaired by Dr. Linda Matthews, Consultant, and Ellen Albright, Greater Reading Chamber, will rotate students through six different sessions: Yes, You Can Afford that Dress! Plan It: Prom! (Prepared by Title Sponsor, VISIONS Federal Credit Union), Leading Ladies: Using Your Voice, Brand Yourself: Make an Impression, Never too Early to Start: Mapping your Way to Success, Possibilities in STEM, and Navigating Your Skills and Passions to Find your Career Path. The young women will hear from keynote speaker, Kim Helton, Bureau of Workforce Planning Development and Equal Employment Opportunity, PA Office of Administration.

This student-focused event received generous community support from the following organizations: Title Sponsor – VISIONS Federal Credit Union; Conference Champions - M&T Bank, Boy Scouts Hawk Mountain Council, Comcast, The Friends of the Reading Hospital, Freedom Auto Group, Penske, and Community Partners - Remcon Plastics, Cambridge-Lee Industries, LLC. Many of these companies will be sending employees to mentor the students during the networking luncheon, representing both traditional and non-traditional careers, providing the students with a broad understanding of careers available locally.

Trish Shermot, Visions Federal Credit Union, added, "VISIONS is passionate about financial literacy and engaging with students and the community. This is just one more way we, as a community working together, can provide students with "tools" for their personal "toolbox" as they move forward towards careers and furthering their education. We are so very pleased to be the title sponsor and wish to thank the volunteers, committees and chamber for their dedication to the students in bringing this program to fruition."

Eric Savage commented, "Students will leave the conference with questions - the best kind of questions. They will be asking themselves about who they really are and what they most want from their lives. They will be asking themselves how much they are willing to work toward becoming who they want to be, and what the necessary steps are to making that vision a reality. When young people begin asking these questions, the game has changed. Education, community involvement, and hard work are no longer obligations - instead, these things reveal themselves as the pathway to greatness."

Visions FCU Names ABC Creative Group Agency of Record

Visions FCU Names ABC Creative Group Agency of Record

Visions Federal Credit Union will count on ABC Creative Group to market its 38 branches spread across three states beginning in 2015. ABC will take on public relations, advertising, media placement, strategic planning, social media and major event support for the 180,000 - member credit union with locations in New York, Pennsylvania and New Jersey. This includes creative for campaigns in print, online and via broadcast as well as content development for and distribution of press releases. "I look forward to working with ABC Creative Group on future marketing initiatives for Visions," Marketing Manager Mandy DeHate said. "Their fresh ideas, innovative culture and willingness to think big while promoting our institution is a real draw and it mirrors our efforts to support our members."

Visions will also utilize ABC’s idea-based sales model that equips clients with customized ROI measurement and ongoing guidance of sales staff to ensure the campaign objectives are complete.

Secretary of Banking & Securities Visits Visions Federal Credit Union

Secretary of Banking & Securities Visits Visions Federal Credit Union

Endwell, NY - Pennsylvania Secretary of Banking & Securities, Glenn E. Moyer, joined Visions Federal Credit Union President/CEO, Tyrone E. Muse, on Thursday, October 30, 2014 at the Visions office located at 2101 Centre Avenue in Reading, PA. The visit included a tour of the office, great conversation, and the added excitement of judging pumpkins.

Visions donated 400 pumpkins and art supplies to the Berks County Intermediate Unit, BCIU, for children to decorate. Prizes were awarded to the winning pumpkins based on votes cast by those visiting the 2101 Centre Avenue location where the pumpkins were displayed. Loads of fun was had by everyone!

Mr. Moyer and Mr. Muse (pictured above left to right) carefully deliberated with the "best of show" decision and truly enjoyed the talent and creativity of the neighboring students at BCIU.

Visions Welcomes New Member Business Loan Officer

Visions Welcomes New Member Business Loan Officer

Alison Ha has joined Visions Federal Credit Union as Sr. Member Business Loan Officer at the Syracuse branch located at 500 Erie Blvd West. Alison brings with her nearly fifteen years of experience in commercial banking, most recently with HSBC Bank, where she was an analyst and AVP-Relationship Manager for nine years covering a variety of industries. Alison holds a B.A. in Economics from Union College, and is a 2014 M.B.A. candidate from the Whitman School of Management at Syracuse University. She resides in Syracuse.

Build a Better Board

Build a Better Board

Among his many responsibilities, Ken Kidder has an especially important role as board chairman of $3.3 billion asset Visions Federal Credit Union in Endicott, N.Y.: to replace himself with someone better.

This task hasn't always been part of the chairman's job description. But when the here to continue.

Tri-Co Federal Credit Union to Merge with Visions Federal Credit Union

Endicott, NY, July 1, 2014 - Visions Federal Credit Union, a $3.2 billion credit union headquartered in Endwell, New York and Tri-Co Federal Credit Union (Tri-Co), a $134 million credit union serving the financial needs of employees of the Board of Education in Morris, Sussex, and Warren Counties in New Jersey; their relatives; over 300 valued business partners, and education-related groups; are pleased to announce approval by the National Credit Union Administration for Tri-Co FCU to merge with, and into, Visions Federal Credit Union.

The effective merge date of the two credit unions is July 1, 2014. Post-merger, Visions will have 38 offices in parts of New Jersey, New York, and Pennsylvania, over $3.3 billion in assets, and nearly 180,000 members. All current Tri-Co office and ATM locations will remain open.

"I am excited to welcome the Tri-Co membership into Visions. Our highly competitive rates, additional services and products; along with the increased office and ATM locations will be beneficial to everyone - especially, our current NJ members. We plan on becoming involved in the tri-county area and look forward to partnering with the local schools and giving back to students and faculty." stated Tyrone Muse, President & CEO of Visions.

Tri-Co was chartered in 1936 as Morris County Teachers Federal Credit Union and has been instrumental in the lives of educators and their families in the tri-county area. They pride themselves on being the 1,151st credit union chartered in America; their willingness to work hard for their members by providing the products they need; and remaining true to their educational roots.

Staying true to the credit union philosophy of "people helping people" Visions is pleased to welcome Tri-Co FCU employees and members into their credit union family and look forward to meeting the financial needs of their members and communities.