In our latest FI Highlight we spoke with Robert G. Allen, President/CEO of Teachers Federal Credit Union (TFCU). Robert shared insights into how TFCU sets themselves apart from other credit unions and how they cater to and support the local community.
In a few sentences, can you tell us about Teachers Federal Credit Union?
Teachers Federal Credit Union (TFCU) was founded in 1952 when seven teachers pooled $5.00 each and received a credit union charter. Today, we continue to be a financial cooperative that has grown to over 235,000 members and nearly $5 billion in total assets. Our employees exclusively live and work on Long Island.
Can you tell us about a recent initiative Teachers Federal Credit Union has deployed?
TFCU recently launched our weekly TFCU Artisanal Farmers Market in the parking lot of our Hauppauge, NY headquarters that is going on through October 30. Instead of just lending money to small businesses here on Long Island, we wanted to take a more active role in nurturing the growth of up-and-coming local businesses. The market gives our vendors an active platform to sell their products, and gives our members and neighbors access to locally-grown food and products.
Tell us, why TFCU has such a strong commitment to supporting the local community?
As Long Islanders ourselves, TFCU is directly invested in the success of both Nassau and Suffolk Counties. Long Island has a reputation of wealth thanks to the national prestige of areas like Nassau’s Gold Coast or the Hamptons, but there is a variety of community needs that we work to address. We target causes that are “off the beaten path” in a sense – local food pantries, focused needs of school districts, village animal shelters.
Can you provide more insight into the ‘teach a man to fish’ approach?
Our financial literacy efforts teach children from an early age that money, like anything else, needs to be handled with a balanced approach. By empowering educators to teach financial literacy, children learn the importance of strong financial habits early on, we’re helping create a new generation of fiscally-savvy Long Islanders.
What types of outcomes have you seen in the local community from this initiative?
Our community outreach efforts have helped TFCU become a go-to partner for various organizations. Our reputation is one of an institution that rolls up its sleeves and works alongside their fellow Long Islanders when the need arises. We’ve seen countless individuals rebound from unfortunate circumstances brought upon by Superstorm Sandy, school children learn the true value of money management, and local groups be able to expand their scope of services thanks to our support.
What else do you think makes TFCU stand out among other credit unions?
We are open to just about anybody who works, lives or worships on Long Island. As a credit union, we have no stockholders, and as more people understand the benefits that a cooperative provides, we continue to grow and provide more employment to the region.
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