Empower Federal Credit Union is a full-service financial institution that provides savings, loans, and other financial products to members in Central New York, and in eight counties throughout New York State. As a credit union, Empower is a financial cooperative and is not-for-profit. In 2007, a merger of equals occurred between Power and Empire to create Empower Federal Credit Union. Power Federal Credit Union was founded in 1939 by nine employees of what was then CNY Power Corporation/Niagara Mohawk (currently National Grid). Empire Federal Credit Union was established in 1950 as Syracuse District Telephone Employees Federal Credit Union, by employees of the Syracuse office of the New York Telephone Company. Several other credit unions also merged with us throughout our history.
Timeline of Mergers
- 1939 – Power FCU (CNY Power Corporation/Niagara Mohawk)
- 1950 – Empire FCU (Syracuse District Telephone Employees FCU)
- 2007 – Empower FCU
- 2008 – Nestegg FCU merges with EFCU
- 2009 – Telco FCU merges with EFCU
- 2011 – Providers FCU merges with EFCU
- 2013 – Cayuga County School Employees FCU merges with EFCU
- 2016 – FocalPoint FCU merges with EFCU
Our philosophy is to strive towards building a relationship with each individual member and creating a lifelong financial partnership. Whether a member walks through the door of one of our many branch locations, visits us online, or calls us on the phone - We remember every member has a story and every story is unique. We understand this and make it personal.
We are out in the community serving our members and member companies that offer credit union membership to their employees as a part of their benefits package. We volunteer, make donations, and sponsor events throughout the areas that we serve. Empower is proud to be among the top large employers in the state, according to the New York State Society for Human Resource Management’s (NYS-SHRM) annual Best Companies to Work for in New York State awards program.
When interacting with our professional and friendly staff, members are treated as individuals and we recognize they are more than a credit score. We seek to identify each individual’s financial goals and work to assist in the achievement of their objectives by offering the products/services that best suit their needs.
The Credit Union Movement
The credit union movement began in Germany in the mid-1800s. These ‘lending cooperatives’ were a way for local farmers to pool their money to lend out to one another at affordable rates, an alternative to the high lending rates at banks. Approximately 50 years later, credit union pioneers brought the movement to the United States. In 1933, the Federal Credit Union Act was passed. In 1948, International Credit Union Day was established, and it continues to be observed annually, the third Thursday of October.
Over the years, credit unions have fought to protect credit union membership access. This mission became a political action when, in 1996, a court case ruling prevented credit unions from accepting members outside their core groups. After a grass-roots campaign lasting almost two years, President Bill Clinton signed the Credit Union Membership Access Act in August 1998.
Credit unions were founded on the principles of providing low-cost credit, promoting thrift, and allowing their member-owners the opportunity to participate in the democratic process. There are credit unions in 109 countries, and around 6,000 credit unions in the U.S. alone. Over forty percent of Americans are credit union members.