We have a pretty good story to tell
How did we get started? How big have we grown? How do we see our mission? What are the principles that guide our operations? We believe when you learn more about us, you'll see how committed we are to do what's right by you.
From a briefcase to something bigger and better
The year was 1952. The place was Orchard Park High School. Several employees gathered to earnestly discuss ways to help school employees make the most of their monies. Ultimately, they decided to ante up $5 each and use their grand total to form the OPCS Federal Credit Union.
Our first manager, and employee, was Jim VanDyke, a high school history teacher. Our first "office" was his iconic briefcase which connected our earliest members to their life-long financial home.
In the decades since then, the credit union has added many other groups, including Orchard Park Town and Village employees, and merging members from the East Aurora Schools Employees Credit Union. We have long since relocated from the high school to our current location on North Buffalo Road, where all of southern Erie County was welcomed to membership in 2006. As of 2018, our field of membership expanded to include all of Erie County, New York.
As those first employees originally planned, outstanding member benefits and financial services continue to be the top priority at Great Erie. The great news is that those services are now available to all residents of Erie County.
With a membership of close to 8,500 individuals and businesses, and assets topping $111 million, it is obvious that Great Erie is reaching new heights even as it remains solidly committed to the principle of helping people make the most of their money.
We thank Charlotte Ash, Arthur Jakel, Alvira Diaz, George Wakeman, and Harold F. Keyes for becoming our first volunteer Board of Directors.
Great Erie will be the first choice among financial institutions in Erie County.
Teaching members how to yield a great life with compassion-based member services, industry-leading technology and products, and goal-oriented financial wellness.
Seven Cooperative Principles For Credit Unions
We believe in working for the common good
The seven principles that guide Great Erie and other credit unions are founded in the philosophy of cooperation and its central values of equality, equity, and mutual self-help. They express, around the world, the principles of human development and the brotherhood of man through people working together to achieve a better life for themselves and their community.
1. Voluntary Membership
Credit unions are voluntary, cooperative organizations, offering services to people willing to accept the responsibilities and benefits of membership, without gender, social, racial, political, or religious discrimination. Credit unions operate as not-for-profit institutions with a volunteer board of directors whose members are drawn from defined fields of membership.
2. Democratic Member Control
Cooperatives are democratic organizations owned and controlled by their members. Each member has one vote and equal opportunity for participation in setting policies and making decisions.
3. Members’ Economic Participation
Members are the owners. As such, they contribute to and democratically control, the capital of the cooperative. This benefits members in proportion to the transactions with the cooperative rather than on the capital invested. For credit unions, which typically offer better rates, fees, and service than for-profit financial institutions, members recognize benefits in proportion to the extent of their financial transactions and general usage.
4. Autonomy and Independence
Credit unions are cooperative, self-help organizations controlled by their members. If the cooperative enters into agreements with other organizations or raises capital from external sources, it is done so based on terms that ensure democratic control by the member and maintains the cooperative autonomy.
5. Education, Training and Information
Cooperatives provide education and training for members, elected representatives, managers, and employees so they can contribute effectively to the development of the cooperative.
Credit unions place particular importance on educational opportunities for their volunteer directors, and financial education for their members and the public, especially young people. Credit unions also recognize the importance of ensuring the general public and policymakers are informed about the nature, structure, and benefits of cooperatives.
6. Cooperation Among Cooperatives
Credit unions serve their members most effectively and strengthen the cooperative movement by working together through local, state, regional, national, and international structures.
7. Concern for Community
While focusing on member needs, credit unions work for the sustainable development of communities, including people of modest means, through policies developed and accepted by the members.
Great Erie Federal Credit Union is a full-service credit union serving the Buffalo and Erie County area including Hamburg, West Seneca, Orchard Park and East Aurora, New York.