Olean Area FCU Announces Promotions & New Hire

Olean Area Federal Credit Union (FCU) recently promoted four employees to Management positions and one to a Director roll. The Credit Union has also appointed a new Director of Human Resources (HR). “The promotion of these employees was an essential next step, as both their individual responsibilities and our company as a whole continue to grow,” said Rich Yeager, President & CEO.

Kelly Fernandez was promoted to Portville Branch Manager. Kelly joined Olean Area FCU in February of 2022 with over 20 years of banking and credit union experience. Her diverse knowledge in teller, phone/member service, lending, and supervisory responsibilities provide the skillset necessary to succeed in this position.

Melissa Pawlowski has been promoted to Retail Lending Manager. She began her career with Olean Area FCU in April of 2013, as a Member Service Representative. She quickly advanced to Retail Lender and in 2020, Melissa earned the promotion to Retail Lending Supervisor. Melissa is responsible for leading the retail lending team and assisting members with their lending needs. In addition, she manages the credit union’s secondary market mortgage program, is a voting member of the Credit Union’s Directors Loan Committee, and directs the Credit Unions Second Review of Declined Loans for Fair Lending practices.

Jacob Piatko was promoted to Facilities & Security Manager. Jake began his career with the CU in 2020 as our Security Administrator. Jake is a graduate of Kent State University with a Bachelor of Business Administration, majoring in Computer Information Systems. Jake came to us with over 14 years of experience including It Technician, Infrastructure Technician, Infrastructure Administrator, Network Administrator and most recently as our IT Security Administrator. He also leads our Physical Security Committee.

Stewart Fuller has been promoted to Facilities & Physical Security Manager. Stewart began his career with the CU in 2020 with over 20 years of experience in facilities, general contracting, security, and management responsibilities. Since joining the CU as Facilities & Security Supervisor, Stewart has proven his ability to secure our buildings and improve the safety of our employees through education and training. Stewart is lead on our Physical Security Committee and is also a key member of the CU Building and Planning Committee.

Michelle Freeman has been promoted to Director of Finance. She began her career with Olean Area FCU in 2011 as an Accounting Intern. After earning her Bachelor’s in Accounting, she began her role as Accounting Assistant. In 2013, she earned her Master’s Degree in Business Administration. She quickly earned promotions to Financial Analyst, Senior Financial Analyst, Finance Supervisor, and Finance Manager.

Tamara Warner was hired as our new HR Director. Tamara is a graduate of SUNY Fredonia with a Bachelor’s in Psychology and a Master’s in HR Management from Nazareth College. She is PHR Certified and has over 17 years of HR Management experience, most recently with PEKO Precision Products in Rochester.

Olean Area FCU is currently one of the largest and most respected full-service Credit Unions in Western New York with assets over 400 million. The credit union currently serves over 19,800 members with four locations, 1201 Wayne Street and 206 North Clark Street in Olean, 180 West Main Street in Allegany, and 160 South Main Street in Portville. 

Olean Area FCU Promotes Four to Executive Roles

Olean Area Federal Credit Union (FCU) has promoted four directors to Vice President positions. “Our Credit Union is committed to continuous improvement and expansion of our products and services to best meet the expectations our members deserve. Each of these key positions is being filled by professionals with extensive experience and I am confident they will be successful in their new roles,” said Rich Yeager, President & CEO.

Tonya Doxey has been promoted to Vice President of Compliance. She began her career with the Credit Union over 30 years ago as a Teller, quickly advancing to Assistant Head Teller. She was then promoted to Assistant Loan Officer, earning the promotion to Loan Officer in 2002. In 2005, Tonya was promoted to Member Service/Lending Coordinator, a position she held until 2009 when she became the Manager of Member Services. In 2012, Tonya changed focus and became the Manager of Compliance, with a promotion to Director in 2020. Tonya is responsible to ensure the credit union’s overall compliance with applicable rules, regulations, and statutory requirements, across all departments, Bank Secrecy Act, Due Diligence, Legal Notices, Audit and Security.

Joseph Leo has been promoted to Vice President of Information Technology. (IT) Joe joined the Olean Area FCU Team in 2019 as the first Director of IT. He is a graduate of Western Governor’s University with a bachelor’s degree in business and MBA in Information Technology Management. Joe joined our team with over 20 years of IT and Managerial experience, immediately elevating the strength and integrity of the IT Department. He will continue to oversee, plan and secure IT and infrastructure to meet present and future member needs using technology in improving our processes and expanding our services.

Michael Smith was promoted to Vice President of Lending. Mike is a graduate of SUNY Buffalo with a bachelor’s degree in Business Administration. Prior to joining our team, Mike had over 8 years of banking experience which consisted of leadership development, credit analysis, and the title of Municipal Loan Officer.  Mike joined Olean Area FCU in 2014 as a Senior Commercial Lender, quickly earning the promotion to Manager of Commercial Operations/Senior Commercial Lender in 2016. His hard work and dedication to commercial members earned him the promotion to Director of Lending in 2021. Mike is responsible for the management and oversight of our Retail Lending, Commercial Lending, Loan Operations, Card Services, and Asset and Recovery Departments. His primary role is to direct and oversee all aspects of lending activity for the Credit Union and to ensure effective and efficient operations, quality of member service, and compliance with existing regulations and policies.

Audra Stevens has been promoted to Vice President of Operations. Audra is a graduate of St. Bonaventure University with a bachelor’s degree in Business Administration & Marketing. She joined the Credit Union team with over 20 years of Banking Management and Senior Management experience in areas of; Marketing and Sales, Branch Management, Operations, Regional Sales, and Banking Services. She joined Olean Area FCU in 2011 as the Manager of Sales and Marketing, earning a promotion to Director of Operations in 2019. Audra oversees the operation of our branch network and Marketing Department, to ensure efficient product and service delivery to our membership.

Olean Area FCU is currently one of the largest and most respected full-service Credit Unions in Western New York with assets over 400 million. The credit union currently serves over 19,800 members with four locations, 1201 Wayne Street and 206 North Clark Street in Olean, 180 West Main Street in Allegany, and 160 South Main Street in Portville. 

Olean Area Federal Credit Union Donates $7,000 to Food Pantries Throughout their Field of Membership

Olean, NY – With the increasing cost and continuous need for food in our communities, Olean Area FCU announced $7,000 in donations to seven food pantries within their field of membership, which includes Allegany and Cattaraugus Counties in New York, and McKean and Potter Counties in Pennsylvania.  

The YWCA of Bradford, CAC Food Pantry, Cuba Cultural Center, INC., Olean Food Pantry, Creekside Chapel, Portville Community Food Pantry, and Harvest Field Outreach Center each received $1,000 donations.

“With it being our 50th year of serving our communities, we felt one of the best ways we could say ‘thank you’ is by helping our neighbors have enough food this holiday season. We also wanted to make sure we included food pantries from each of the four counties we serve,” said Rich Yeager, President & CEO.

Olean Area FCU is the 2nd largest credit union in Western New York, with assets of over $400 million. The credit union currently serves over 19,800 members with four branch locations, 1201 Wayne Street and 206 North Clark Street in Olean, 180 West Main Street in Allegany, and 160 South Main Street in Portville.

Olean Area FCU Awards Scholarships to Collegebound Seniors

Olean Area Federal Credit Union has awarded $2,000 in college scholarships to four high school seniors to help finance their college education.

The students, who are members of Olean Area FCU, were chosen based on their outstanding academic and extracurricular achievements.

“As a community-focused institution, we are always looking for opportunities to give back.” said Richard Yeager, CEO “The Scholarship Program allows us the opportunity to give back to our younger members as they embark on their college careers.”

The high school seniors who received the awards were: Christy Childs of Hinsdale, Kaylee Rhinehart of Otto-Eldred, Sara Thomas of Olean, and Alexis Trietley – also of Olean High School.

In addition to the Olean Area FCU Scholarship, Christy Childs was also awarded scholarships through the Jamestown Credit Union Chapter and the New York Credit Union Association totaling an additional $1,500.

Olean Area FCU announces changes to Board of Directors

At Olean Area Federal Credit Union’s Annual Meeting, the financial institution’s volunteer Board of Directors announced new board appointments as well as two retirements.

Patrick Kelly, who served as Chairman of the Board since 1992, announced that he would step down from his Chair position but remain as a member of the Board of Directors. Michele Pancio, current board Vice-Chair was elected to the new Board Chair position. Michele joined the Olean Area FCU supervisory committee in 2006 and was appointed to the board in 2013. She was elected Vice-Chair in 2021. For over 30 years Michele has been co-owner of All American Financial Service and Insurance as well as Real Estate Development.

Current Board Member, Jason Crisafulli was elected as the new Vice-Chair. Jason joined the Olean Area FCU Education Committee in 2015 and was appointed to the board in 2018. Jason was the previous President of Kinley Corporation before his retirement. He also serves as Board President for the Greater Olean Area Chamber of Commerce and is a member of the Allegany Planning Board.

Michele stated, “Serving the credit union on the Supervisory Committee and the Board these past sixteen years has been an honor.  I am looking forward to my new role as Board Chair and the opportunity to help guide Olean Area FCU into the future.” President & CEO, Rich Yeager added, “Michele has been an integral member of our board since the day she joined us and I’m confident in her leadership going forward. I would like to thank Pat for over 30 years of dedication to our credit union as Chairman and am certain he will continue to be an advocate for our members and communities in his new role.”

Along with these recent appointments, the Board also announced the retirement of two long standing Board Members, Glenda Hall and Jean McInroy. Glenda joined the board in 1983 and Jean in 2002. Both have been an essential part in the development and growth of Olean Area FCU. Rich Yeager, stated, “We sincerely thank Glenda and Jean for their years of service to our organization and the communities we serve. Their commitment has helped make our Credit Union what it is today.”

Olean Area FCU Brings Mad City Money to Cuba-Rushford Seniors

Cuba, NY. Olean Area Federal Credit Union staff were welcomed into the Cuba-Rushford school to share their Mad City Money program with nearly 65 high school seniors. The Credit Union (CU) first implemented Mad City Money in 2013, presenting the program in Olean and Allegany high schools. With a brief hiatus due to COVID-19, the credit union employees were excited for the opportunity to bring this program back to local youth.

Originally purchased through the Credit Union National Association (CUNA), Mad City Money is a financial education tool that helps high schoolers get a taste of the “real world.” Students get to choose an “identity” at the start of the program, where they’re given an occupation, salary, spouse & children, student loan & credit card debt, and medical insurance payments. They then have to visit various stations to decide on what housing, transportation, childcare, food, and other necessities to purchase while staying within their budget.

Students learn how to calculate their credit card monthly payment, practice writing a check, experience unexpected bills – as well as unexpected financial gains, and discover how much they can actually afford with their given “identity.” While some of the students had money left over at the end to put in their savings, many had to return to certain stations to switch out their purchase for something more affordable.

When asked what the main takeaway of this program was for the students, they reiterated a better understanding of their parents’ spending habits, a realization of how expensive living in the “real world” is, and the importance of paying off debt. Being able to experience these scenarios in a controlled way provides students with a level of financial wisdom they likely wouldn’t have otherwise.

Olean Area FCU is eager to bring Mad City Money to high schools in their expanded field of membership, which includes all of Allegany, Cattaraugus, McKean & Potter counties. For more information and to schedule Mad City Money at your school, email Marketing@oleanfcu.com or call (716) 372-6607.


Olean, NY – With the giving spirit of the holidays and sense of community they hold year-round, Olean Area FCU announced a $4,000 donation to 4 local food pantries.

The Olean Food Pantry, Creekside Chapel, Loaves & Fishes, and the Portville Community Food Pantry each received $1,000 donations.

“As a credit union, giving back to our local food banks is one of the best ways we could think of to fulfill the credit union philosophy of, ‘people helping people’ this holiday season. We recognize the growing need for this vital service in our community and want to make sure it continues to be available to our friends and neighbors,” said Rich Yeager, President & CEO.

Olean Area FCU ranked among top Commercial Lenders.

Olean Area Federal Credit Union (FCU) was recently ranked among the top 20 largest Buffalo Commercial Lenders by Buffalo Business First. With four branch offices, an expanded Field of Membership, and a $47.41 million Commercial Loan Portfolio, Olean Area FCU earned its seat among 19 other reputable financial institutions in Western New York. 

“It’s exciting to see our credit union on this list,” said Olean Area FCU’s Director of Commercial Lending, Mike Smith. “I sincerely believe this achievement can be attributed to our focus on excellent service and providing the best possible products to our members,”

Olean Area FCU offers a variety of commercial products to meet businesses everyday needs. Their deposit products include business checking, savings, certificates, and merchant services.  Their commercial lending programs give local business owners peace of mind knowing that their commercial team is comprised of local lenders making local decisions. Lending services include term loans, lines of credit, commercial mortgages, credit cards, as well as offering loan programs through the Small Business Administration (SBA).

Over the past year, while many business owners navigated their way through the pandemic, the Credit Union assisted over 250 local organizations with over $21 million in funding through the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP).

As Olean Area FCU approaches their 50th anniversary in 2022, CEO Richard Yeager recently commented on their growth and dedication to service, “To be included as one of the top commercial lenders in our area reflects our commitment to the communities we serve. We strive to give our commercial members flexible rates and terms to assist in their growth, and in turn, the growth of our local economies.” 

Olean Area FCU is the second largest credit union in Western New York, with assets of $388 million. It currently serves over 19,000 members with four locations: 1201 Wayne Street & 206 North Clark Street in Olean, 180 West Main Street in Allegany, and 160 South Main Street in Portville, NY. In addition, Olean Area FCU recently opened an Operations Center at 234 Homer Street in Olean.

All You Need to Know About the New Stimulus Bill

It’s another stimulus bill, and that means more checks are a-comin’! But don’t hit the shops just yet. Although the new bill promises bigger stimulus checks, there are stricter eligibility requirements. And that’s just the tip of the iceberg that is this bill.

Below, we’ve outlined some of the most significant measures included in the American Rescue Plan.

Stimulus payments

The third round of stimulus checks are set at $1,400. Here’s who is getting checks:

  • Single taxpayers with an adjusted gross income (AGI) of $75,000 or below.
  • Taxpayers filing as heads of household with AGIs of $112,500 or below.
  • Married couples filing jointly with AGIs of $150,000 or below.

Parents will also be getting checks for every child they claim as a dependent on their tax return, including college students and adult children with disabilities.

Older relatives who are living with taxpayers will also be counted as dependents.

Higher earners will receive partial payments, but these will phase out quickly. For single filers, the checks stop at an AGI of $80,000. For heads of household, the checks stop at AGIs of $120,000, and for joint filers, the cutoff is $160,000.

To be eligible for a payment, an individual must have a Social Security number.

Changes to unemployment insurance

The relief bill will extend unemployment benefits for another 25 weeks, until Sept. 6. The weekly supplemental benefit of $300 will continue running through that date, too.

The first $10,200 of benefits will be tax-free for people whose income is less than $150,000. This only applies to unemployment paid in 2020.

In addition, unemployment benefits received through the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance program will run through Sept. 6. Benefits received through the Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation program would also run through that date.

Changes to the child tax credit

The relief bill will expand the child tax credit to $3,000 for children ages 6 through 17, and to $3,600 for children ages 5 and under. The credit will now also be fully refundable.

In addition, half the child tax credit may be advanced to parents before the end of 2021. Plans for the distribution are still being finalized, but lawmakers are hopeful that parents will start getting monthly payments toward their child tax credits for 2021 as early as July.

Married couples with a modified AGI of up to $150,000 (or up to $112,500 for heads of household and up to $75,000 for single filers) would receive the full value of the new benefit.

Changes to student loans

There will be no income tax on forgiven debt for those that qualify for loan forgiveness or cancellation. This would apply to all debt forgiven between Jan. 1, 2021, and Dec. 31, 2025.

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