Partnership with AFCU Benefits Low-Income Credit Union

Volume CI, No. 7/8July, 2001

Over the last year or so, the Actors Federal Credit Union has been extraordinarily successful in providing AFCU members with access to fee-free ATM transactions. The credit union currently operates 14 ATMs, and will soon place 15 more units in McDonald’s restaurants, supermarkets and drug stores across New York City.

Now, through a partnership with the Lower East Side Peoples Federal Credit Union, AFCU is moving to expand this surcharge-free environment to more of the 1 million New Yorkers served by credit unions. AFCU and LESPFCU recently joined together in the operation of an ATM located inside the McDonald’s at 102-106 First Avenue, at Sixth Street.

AFCU President Jeff Rodman points out that that the credit union has “worked with LESPFCU on a number of issues, ranging from political lobbying to operational issues, so it seemed very logical to partner with LESPFCU and its membership on this venture.”

LESPFCU is a low income-designated credit union, and the new partnership allows it to provide an ATM for fee-free use by its members without having to assume the expense of sole operation. AFCU has assets of $56 million and serves more than 14,000 members. LESPFCU has assets of $6.2 million and serves over 3,200 members.

“The opportunity offered to us by AFCU to join in on this machine is great,” said Pablo DeFilippi, manager and CEO of LESPFCU. “Their operational structure makes it possible to have an ATM located in such a highly visible and accessible location.” AFCU drives and operates the machine, including all back-office settlement activity, while income and expenses are split 50:50 by the two credit unions.

AFCU and LESPFCU are both members of the CO-OP Network, and are hoping to attract additional New York City credit unions to join the network.

“The value that surcharge-free ATMs have added to our credit union is immeasurable,” Rodman said. “The deployment of ATMs has helped to boost our asset and membership size.” And he pointed out that the advent of ATM surcharging by commercial banks, “which originally had a negative impact on our ability to attract and keep members, has turned into a major business opportunity. We now have 100 percent fee-free ATMs to counteract the banks’ vast ATM networks.”