Growing CU Stays True to Roots
‘We take time to understand our SEGs, and we design products around their needs.’
Who: Shelly Gayring
What: Assistant manager
Where: Liverpool (N.Y.) Central Schools FCU
We established a unique partnership in September 2011 with:
Harborside Manor Apartments, a local apartment complex. As we looked locally for opportunities to expand our field of membership by adding additional select employee groups (SEG), we realized we’re neighbored by multiple apartment complexes. Each has employees we can serve. And many of our members already lived in these complexes, so adding the businesses benefited both parties. Since adding Harborside Manor, we’ve also added several additional complexes as SEGs.
Our primary field of membership is:
Education-based. Our primary employer group is the Liverpool Central School District employees and their immediate families, followed by Liverpool students. When we decided to expand our SEGs, we initially looked to our existing members and their ties in the community, adding several small businesses, including the apartment complexes. More recently, we strengthened our ties to education by adding the Dental Assisting School of Syracuse and The Phoenix Central School District, which includes a student-run branch within the high school.
At the beginning, the CU was located:
In a member’s basement. Founded in 1956 to serve employees of the Liverpool Central School District, we’ve grown to $35 million in assets with more than 3,300 members. We continue to look for new opportunities for growth while staying true to our educational roots. Growth opportunities include adding educational SEGs, offering free seminars to our members and community, providing books to the schools’ business departments, guest-speaking at the schools, and offering hands-on experiences to students who volunteer at our student-run branch.
Our CU takes a unique approach to product development:
We take time to understand each of our SEGs, and we design products around their needs. For example, we offer a “summer skip” on loans. Since many of our members are school district employees who don’t work during the summer months, they can opt to skip their summer payments. Instead of amortizing their loans over 12 months, we amortize over 10. Another example is our Dental School Loan. The Dental Assisting School of Syracuse doesn’t qualify for Stafford loans, and was only able to offer potential students financing at a high interest rate. We customized a loan specifically for the tuition—paid directly to the school and at a substantially lower rate for the student.
The community of Liverpool encompasses:
The village of Liverpool and parts of the towns of Clay and Salina—totaling approximately 55,000 residents. There’s a bit of everything in Liverpool—industrial office parks, small neighborhoods, and a village that sits along Onondaga Lake Park. I can actually see a windmill outside my office window!
My favorite thing to do in my community:
Visit the parks. We have so many beautiful ones, including the Onondaga Lake Park. The city of Syracuse is only 10 minutes away, and hosts a variety of
festivals during the spring and summer months.
The person who has had the biggest impact on my life:
My mom, as cliché as it sounds. It wasn’t until recently that I realized what an amazingly strong person she is. I don’t know if I could go through half the stuff she has gone through in her life.
Favorite words of wisdom:
“Do what you love. When you love your work, you become the best worker in the world.” ~Uri Geller