At the end of 2014, Long Island-based NEFCU finished their “Pay It Forward,” community program. Going into local areas during the summer of 2014, NEFCU would treat unsuspecting Long Islanders to a good deed or small favor. In the final weeks of November, NEFCU made a grand gesture to locals who had endured hardship by gifting five residents with $1,000 checks.
To hear more about this community program, we talked to Edward Paternostro President and Chief Executive Officer of NEFCU.
Why did you start the Pay It Forward program?
Last year, NEFCU celebrated its 75th year of serving the banking needs of the Long Island community. Our Pay It Forward program provided us with an opportunity to give back to the communities we serve in a unique and fun way.
What has member response been to this program?
The Pay It Forward program was not designed specifically for members – it was actually intended to introduce NEFCU to those in the community who may not be familiar with our organization. The feedback from the program has been overwhelmingly positive and even small acts of kindness such as buying someone a cup of coffee, pumping someone’s gas or packing groceries, were all met with much appreciation. We also received over 200 nominations asking us to support local neighbors who are in need, and we were able to provide five $1,000 grants to deserving Long Islanders. Our members are always very pleased that their credit union gives back to the community and are always supportive of these efforts.
Most recently, during Veterans Day weekend, we sold tee-shirts in our branches to support The United Way of Long Island’s Operation LIVE United campaign, which assists returning veterans and their families. Thanks to the generosity of our members, we raised over $11,000 for this worthy cause.
Have you noticed an increase in interest in the CU because of the program?
The program did increase brand awareness of the credit union in our local communities. There were instances where residents actually came immediately in to the branch to open an account, and folks continue to visit our branches to check out our many great products and services.
Has there been interest in conducting similar campaigns in future?
Yes, we hope to continue similar campaigns next year.
Do you have any predictions for 2015 that can be shared?
2015 will continue to be a year of membership growth. We are introducing some exciting new products, such as a checking account that pays up to 3% APY based on the member’s relationship, a new low-cost mortgage option, two new VISA credit card options and more. We will also continue to expand our branch network into Suffolk County with additional locations later in the year. Our outreach in the community will continue to increase and we will be continuing to promote our exceptional products and services through increase advertising.
Think your FI deserves special recognition? Submit your FI here.