Dear Member,

We are pleased to inform you Empower Federal Credit Union will be reopening branch lobbies over the next month in a “phased in” approach under the recently granted approval provided by our regional governmental authorities and the Governor of New York.
                                                                                
Starting May 20, 2020 we have reopened the lobbies at all four of our Oswego County branch locations and our one Palatine Bridge branch location for non-teller based transactional services. Non-teller based transactions include opening an account, applying for a loan and other services usually handled by member service representatives. For the branches with drive-thru capabilities, we will continue to serve members for teller-based transactions through our drive-thru teller lanes only. For the branches among the five reopening today without drive-thru capabilities, we will be reopening their lobbies for teller-based transactions too, but limiting the number of members allowed entry at any one time.
 
Subject to continued government permission, we will be reopening more branch lobbies for non-teller transactions as we phase in more each Wednesday over the next few weeks. We hope to have all the branch lobbies open by mid-June.
 
As expected by governmental authorities, we will require all members and employees to mandatorily wear face masks before entering any branch lobby to prevent potential spread of the coronavirus. We will also make available hand sanitizing liquid for use by all. You will note as you revisit our branches we have outfitted them with sneeze guards at the greeter stations and in employee offices. Please also be patient while our employees clean their work areas after serving another member.
 
For more detailed information on the reopening phased in process, please visit https://www.empowerfcu.com/branchaccess as more branch lobby locations are expected to be reopened. If you have any questions, please contact our call center representatives during normal hours between 7:30 am to 6:00 pm Monday through Friday and Saturday 9:00 am to 1:00 pm. The number to call is either 315.477.2200 or toll free at 800.462.5000.

Thank you for your support and cooperation as we continue to evaluate and make decisions based on the safety and well-being of our employees, members and communities that we serve. Please bear with us as we make the transition from the lockdown to reopening our branches for your service, safety and convenience.

We wish all the best to you and your family.
 
Sincerely,
 
John Wakefield, President/CEO

 
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

NYS Contact Tracing and Caller ID 

What if you get a call, and the caller ID says “NYS Contact Tracing”?  Do you pick up?  Is it trustworthy?

Andrew Cuomo, the New York State Governor, recently announced that New York’s contact tracing program is operational.  If someone tests positive for COVID-19 they will be contacted by a contact tracer who will work with them to find out who else may have been infected.  Other contact tracers will then reach out to those people, even though they may not have any idea that they’ve been in close contact with a sick individual.  So you might get a legitimate call from showing displaying on your phone as “NYS Contact Tracing” without previously expecting it.  Cuomo’s message was as follows:

“If you get a call, PLEASE answer the phone.  Answering the phone will keep your loved ones and the community safe and allows us to keep NY moving forward.”

That’s good, but it is really easy to spoof Caller ID.  Called ID is a helpful indication but it is not a guarantee of who is calling.  A scammer can potentially make Caller ID display anything they want it to.  If everyone in New York State knows that thy may get a call from “NYS Contact Tracing” what are the chances of fraudsters using it to trick people into giving up personal information?  Probably very high!

So it is important to educate yourself on what contact tracers do, what information they would ask for and what they would never ask for.  Contact tracing is ONLY about finding out where you’ve been and who you have been in contact with.  A legitimate contact tracer will never ask you to confirm all or part of your SSN, never ask for financial information or anything else unrelated to simply determining who you have been in contact with, and how those people might be reached.  That’s it.  Period!

So if you get a call, and the caller ID shows “NYS Contact Tracing,” please follow the Governor’s instructions and do answer the phone.  But do not give up any information that a legitimate contact tracer should not ask!

Stay safe!

During these challenging times, Empower is here for our Members. To offer some relief for existing loan payments, we have launched a Member Assistance Payment Extension program. If you have a current loan with us, you may be allowed to extend payments for 90 days, excluding revolving and mortgage loan products. If a payment extension would help your family’s budget, please login to online banking to submit your request through the message center to Collections.

For Loans including Mortgage and Home Equities we are offering a Member Assistance Payment Forbearance program. If you have a current loan with us, you may be allowed to forbear payments for 90 days. If forbearing a payment would help your family’s budget, please login to online banking to submit your request through the message center to Collections.

As always, the health, safety, and well-being of our members, our staff, and our community is of paramount concern. We will continue to monitor this quickly evolving situation closely.

Dear Member,

For the health and safety of our members and employees, the Empower Federal Credit Union Annual Meeting has been postponed. We are continually monitoring updates from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and health guidelines from both State and National governmental agencies regarding the pandemic and we will reschedule the meeting when conditions allow. Once a new date has been determined, we will share that information with you.

To help prevent the spread of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19), we have been serving members exclusively through the drive-thru teller lanes, call center, mail, night drop, and online message center. We encourage you to use our online and mobile banking services, including the app. With these tools, you can manage your accounts and complete transactions such as mobile check deposits, loan payments, bill payments, internal and external transfers and applying for a loan.

We are working diligently to minimize your drive-thru wait time. We are performing transactions that are not typically done at the drive-thru to accommodate our members, so there may be extended wait times. To make sure your experience at our drive-thru lanes goes smoothly, please have checks signed before reaching the window for service, instructions written out (including account number), and needed paperwork and ID ready for when it is your turn.

For your safety, no walk-up service is available at the drive-thru lanes. If you do not have a vehicle, contact us to discuss your options, one of which is our night drop service. Our representatives are available 7:30 am to 6:00 pm Monday through Friday and Saturday 9:00 am to 1:00 pm to answer your questions. Our website is another great source of information and is continually updated. It is important to reference https://www.empowerfcu.com to receive the most up-to-date information.

Finally, I’d like to remind you to be particularly careful to protect yourself from criminals who are using these troubling times to conduct fraud. Stimulus payments, financial hardship and an inability to come into a branch to talk to us directly are all factors that fraudsters may use to try to take advantage of you.  Always remember that if you receive an email, text message or phone call that looks or sounds like it is from Empower, but you were not expecting it, you should not answer any questions and not reply. Instead, call the credit union directly at 315.477.2200 or 800.462.5000 to explain what communication you received and verify its authenticity.  You can also visit our website for more information on common scams and how to protect yourself.

Thank you for your support and cooperation as we continue to make decisions based on the safety and well-being of the communities we serve.
 
We wish all the best to you and your family.
 
Sincerely,
John Wakefield, President/CEO
..............................................................................................................................................................................................................

Dear Member,

As an update to our efforts to serve you, we have added branch employees to our call center operations to handle the increase in call volume that we have experienced since Friday’s closure of our branch lobbies. Even though call volumes have increased, wait times continue to be reduced as more employees become available to answer member calls. Thank you for your patience.

Branch employees have been split into two shifts. While one shift manages drive-thru service at each applicable branch location, the second shift is being outfitted to take care of member calls and emails. We will rotate shifts on a regular schedule until health officials and the Governor inform us it is safe to return to normal operations. For employee safety purposes, almost all applicable employees will have the capability to work from home by next week.

Regarding call center assistance and loan applications by phone, our representatives are available normal hours 7:30 am to 6:00 pm Monday through Friday and Saturday 9:00 am to 1:00 pm. The number to call is either 315.477.2200 or toll free at 800.462.5000. In addition to our home banking, mobile app, call center and drive-thru services, we offer more than 55,000 surcharge-free Allpoint ATMs including Empower ATMs that are also free for members to use.

For members facing potential hardships, please contact our call center representatives to help you through these challenging times. Empower has always been available during past economic difficulties to help members in need through loan payment deferrals, fee waivers and loan assistance. As a financial institution, Empower is even stronger today than in the past to help members in need.

Finally, based upon urgent community needs, we have allocated all of our upcoming paid television and billboard advertising to the Food Bank of Central New York. If you would like to donate or need services from the Food Bank, please contact them directly as instructed below.

Thank you for being a member and stay safe!

John Wakefield, President/CEO

..............................................................................................................................................................................................................

Food Bank of Central New York works with a network of partner agencies—food pantries, soup kitchens, and emergency shelters—to distribute food to individuals and families in need. During this unprecedented crisis, we ask you to take every precaution to stay at home.

However, if you need emergency food assistance, please call the Food Bank at 315-437-1899 for a referral to one of our partner agencies. If you want to support our work, please visit us at www.foodbankcny.org. 

..............................................................................................................................................................................................................

Dear Member, 

For the health and safety of our members and employees, Empower Federal Credit Union is temporarily adapting how we handle branch transactions. We have been monitoring, like you, updates from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and health guidelines from both State and National governmental agencies regarding the pandemic.

To help prevent the spread of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19), we will serve members exclusively through our drive-thru teller lines beginning at the start of business on Friday, March 20th, 2020. Branches without drive-thru capabilities will be closed temporarily (Canandaigua VA and National Grid branches will close on Monday, March 23rd). Branch hours will remain the same and information is provided on our website for each branch. Branch lobby access will be made available by appointment only for limited services and instructions will be made available shortly.

Online and mobile banking services are available 24/7 either through our website or by downloading the Empower app in the Apple® App Store or Google Play™. Through the app, you can manage your accounts and complete transactions such as mobile check deposits, loan payments, bill payments, internal and external transfers and applying for a loan.

Regarding call center and loan applications by phone, our representatives are available normal hours 7:30 am to 6:00 pm Monday through Friday and Saturday 9:00 am to 1:00 pm.  The number to call is either 315.477.2200 or toll free at 800.462.5000.  In addition to our digital and call center services, we offer more than 55,000 surcharge-free Allpoint ATMs. And multiple Empower stand-alone ATMs are also free to members.

For members facing potential hardships, please contact our lending associates to help you through these difficult times. Empower has always been available during past economic difficulties to help members in need through loan payment deferrals, fee waivers and loan assistance. As a financial institution, Empower is even stronger today than in the past to help those members in need.

Thank you for your support and cooperation as we continue to make decisions based on the safety and well-being of the communities we serve. Please bear with us as we make the transition internally to remote service as almost all non-branch staff will be working securely and safely from home by this weekend.

Finally, be aware of scams regarding the pandemic as cybercriminals will be active during this time of uncertainty. We also encourage you to be mindful of your surroundings when in public, and we will continue to share additional information as it becomes available at https://www.empowerfcu.com/security.  For more information regarding the virus pandemic itself, please refer to the cdc.gov website at https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/.

We wish all the best to you and your family.

Sincerely,
John Wakefield, President/CEO

..............................................................................................................................................................................................................

Dear Valued Member, 

Members and Employees are our top priority at Empower FCU! We want to take a moment and share some measures we are taking to address the Coronavirus COVID-19 Pandemic:

  • Empower is open for business! Staff safety, member safety, and availability of services remain our top priorities.
  • Business Continuity Planning is a part of daily life at Empower FCU. Our remote services are regularly tested, and we are making every effort to serve you no matter what happens.
  • We have implemented a temporary policy of “Handshakes on Hold, Smiles Unlimited,” and we hope our “Service with a Smile” is more noticeable than ever.
  • We are regularly utilizing disinfecting wipes and hand sanitizer in all branch locations.
  • CDC and State Health organizations regarding best practices on handwashing, especially after handling cash and documents, have been reiterated.
  • We have asked our cleaning vendor to intensify their nightly disinfecting protocol at all Empower locations.


During this time, we strongly encourage you to make use of our 24-hour ePhone and online banking systems for your financial needs to help support the CDC recommendations regarding social distancing. As always, through online banking and/or the Empower mobile app you can access your accounts to check balances, make payments, perform transfers, view transactions, and deposit checks.

Representatives in our call center will continue to be available to answer your questions, address your concerns, and assist you regarding your financial needs.

We are aware that many of our members may be facing financial concerns and uncertainties as the COVID-19 situation develops. Empower FCU is here to help, and we encourage members who may be impacted to reach out to discuss how we might be of assistance.

As always, the health, safety, and well-being of our members, our staff, and our community is of paramount concern. We will continue to monitor this quickly evolving situation closely. 

Sincerely,
John Wakefield, President/CEO

Empower Insurance Services Logo

PURSUANT TO AMENDED 11 N.Y.C.R.R. 229.5

Dear Valued Insurance Member,

We hope that this message finds you and your family safe and healthy.

These are difficult times. The New York Legislature and Department of Financial Services have been implementing emergency measures in an effort to protect insurance policyholders who have been hit with financial hardship because of the COVID-19 pandemic.  Regulations they enacted include: the waiver of late fees; the prohibition on reporting negative data to credit reporting agencies; and the repayment of late premiums over a 12-month period.

If you have been impacted by this pandemic, this means help may be available.

  • If you can demonstrate that you’re unable to make a timely premium payment due to financial hardship because of the COVID-19 pandemic, you may pay such premium over a 12-month period.  

  • If your policy is financed through a premium finance agency, they must provide a grace period before cancelling your policy for late payment of an installment if you can demonstrate financial hardship because of the COVID-19 pandemic. This grace period will be 60 days for a property/casualty policy; 90 days for a life insurance policy.  You will be given a 12-month period to pay the missed installment, and the premium finance agency may not impose late fees or  report you to any credit reporting agency or debt collector because of that installment.

You may prove hardship by submitting a written attestation to the insurance company or premium finance agency regarding your financial hardship resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic.  The full text of the relevant regulations can be read here: https://www.biginy.org/nysdfs.

If you have any questions about this or your policy, don’t hesitate to contact our team. We’re proud to continue helping you protect what matters most.

Empower Insurance Services LLC (formerly known as Empower Associated Services Inc.) is affiliated with Empower Federal Credit Union (EFCU). The purchase of insurance from Empower Insurance Services LLC is not required to obtain credit or other services from Empower FCU. Insurance products are not credit union deposits and are not NCUA insured, nor are they obligations of or guaranteed by Empower FCU. Not all insurance products are available in all states. Call for availability in your state.

Empower is no longer taking applications for the SBA Paycheck Protection Program. We are committed to completing the process of funding the large number of applications we have received from our members who have applied and are qualified for this program. Based on that demand and the limited funds available in this federal program, commitments to members who have not yet completed their application cannot be offered.


Upload Docs for Existing Application​


Loan Forgiveness:

While the SBA has released a loan forgiveness application form, there are anticipated changes forthcoming from Congress and the SBA. Until final guidance on how to apply for loan forgiveness and forms are announced, borrowers should continue to abide by the rules and regulations originally published by the SBA when loans were originated, particularly pertaining to the retention of employees and rehiring those furloughed, as well as spending 75% on payroll costs and 25% on eligible expenses. Employee and compensation levels should be maintained according to PPP rules.

It is critical that borrowers maintain clear and accurate records of qualifying expenses so that the request for forgiveness is supported by documentation verifying those expenses. Please review program information by clicking on this link: https://home.treasury.gov
 
Stimulus funds received will be posted and available on the effective date of the deposit as designated by the US Department of Treasury. Contact us at 800.462.5000 with inquiries.
Until further notice, Empower FCU members are allowed to make unlimited transactions from their savings account.
On Friday, April 24, 2020 the Federal Reserve System announced an interim final rule which allows Empower FCU to suspend the enforcement of the six transaction limit normally imposed for savings accounts and allows members to make an unlimited number of transactions from their savings accounts. Empower FCU’s suspension is made in accordance with the interim final rule and is subject to any revision the Federal Reserve System may subsequently make.
The tax filing deadline has been extended to July 15, and Empower Tax Services LLC is here for all of your Tax needs. Dropoff available at the following branches:

523 Erie Blvd. West (Syracuse) 
900 Kinne Street (East Syracuse)
Auburn 
Cicero 
Fairmount 
Fayetteville 
Fulton East
Liverpool
North Medical Center
Oswego 
Utica 

Contact us today! 
315.426.5678 or 800.462.5000 ext. 5678
www.empowerfcu.com/tax

What do you want out of life?

Empower Federal Credit Union welcomes employees of many companies, immediate family/household members of employees and retirees, as well as our outreach to underserved communities to enjoy personal and business banking solutions including auto loans, mortgages*, credit cards and more. Bank online, in any central NY branch, or call us at 315.477.2200.

* Home mortgages available in FL, PA, CT, NY and NC.