Press Releases

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.

About CNYSME
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 www.cnysme.org 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.
http://www.ithacajournal.com/story/news/local/2015/04/06/money-alternatives-federal-visions-junior-achievement/25348187/

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."

AVOIDING CYBER FRAUD

  • 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.
http://www.pressconnects.com/story/money/2015/03/29/keeps-bankers-night-cyber-crime/70321650/

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.
http://www.pressconnects.com/story/money/2015/03/29/credit-union/70396790/

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: GOBankingRates.com, March 27, 2015.
http://www.investopedia.com/partner/gobankingrates/articles/personal-finance/032715/4-tips-cut-your-monthly-bank-fees.asp

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 former...click 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.