Corporate America Family Credit Union assists people in improving finances, considers members family

Published on Tuesday, 15 December 2020 12:09
Written by BRIAN M. JOHNSON

@brianjohnsonBP

BRISTOL – Corporate America Family Credit Union’s mission is to provide the knowledge to assist people with improving their finances.

Headquartered in Illinois, CAFCU has a nationwide footprint with branches in 11 states total, including one at 501 Middle St. in Bristol since 1999. Amid the covid-19 pandemic, Deliana Gamez, vice president of business development, said that ensuring accessibility is key.

“We want people to be able to access their accounts while being safe, so we’ve pivoted to make sure you are able to do all the things you want to do with a financial institution from the comfort of your home,” she said. “We’ve launched a concept called Virtual One-on-Ones where our members can set up 15-minute video chat sessions where they connect with us on a live camera, or they can do it by phone. That way they can apply for membership or loans, talk about accounts, even just get general counseling about budgeting, buying your first home and things like that.”

Gamez added CAFCU is able to provide technology people might not find at smaller banks or local credit unions. She said CAFCU is open from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. to connect people with a live person, on screen, to handle all transactions.

Gamez said financial education is important to CAFCU.

“Everyone’s financial story is different,” she said. “We don’t want people to come to us to be told what to do with their finances. We want to give them all the knowledge they need to assess their own financial situation and make educated decisions. When someone comes in for a loan we don’t say ‘this is what you’re approved for.’ The first question we ask is ‘what is an affordable payment for you.’”

Kasia Leone, branch manager for the Bristol CAFCU location, said once people become members they are not treated just as customers but like they “belong to our family.”

“The most important thing is that we empower your financial success,” she said. “People don’t like to be sold, they like to be helped, and that’s what we do every single day.”

CAFCU has also been focusing on putting out educational content about the federal CARES Act and the stimulus checks that were being sent out.

“We want to talk about not just the drier content of financial education, but about things that are relevant today for our members,” Gamez said.

The CAFCU story began when 15 employees of Automatic Electric Co. made a deposit of $5 each into the newly founded Automatic Credit Union back in 1939. Since then, the credit union has evolved in name, membership base and charter to bring it to where it is today – serving tens of thousands of members across the nation.

In order to continue serving a diverse membership, the credit union altered its charter from a federal charter to a State of Illinois charter in 1997, and so it came to have the name it is known by today.

Going forward, Gamez said CAFCU will be working on improvements to its website and making contactless cards available to members. However, brick and mortar locations will remain important.

“We are enhancing some of our branch locations too, to make them a bit more sleek, a little more of a different experience,” she said.

For more information, call 860-583-4437, 800-359-1939, or visit cafcu.org .

Brian M. Johnson can be reached at 860-973-1806 or bjohnson@bristolpress.com.



Posted in The Bristol Press, Bristol, on Tuesday, 15 December 2020 12:09. Updated: Tuesday, 15 December 2020 12:11.