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Day 3: Arts & Culture

October 20, 2015


What a great day, LMV ‘Arts & Culture/Quality of Life Day’ was! I was looking forward to it as arts and culture are topics I love, plus it was a nice day out and we were going to be taking a walking tour of Utica. Well, it was even better than I had hoped.  I experienced pieces of Utica I had not before, and left feeling motivated and inspired!

We started at the ThINCubator, an entrepreneur/start-up space that provides people programs and a place to accelerate the ideas of entrepreneurs.  Here we watched a video of a recent Utica TEDx talk from Michelle Truett, Owner of 484 Design who has been instrumental in strategy for revitalizing downtown Utica and Baggs Square.  Her talk was, “Microbranding Utica – Mile by Mile”.  Then Michelle joined us live, and gave us our walking tour to the Landmarc Building.

We learned all about the Baggs Square area, what it was originally, how it’s been repurposed, and its current growth. When we got to the Landmarc Building we saw the new loft apartments and Ocean Blue Rooftop Restaurant and Bar.

Michelle did an excellent job of personifying Utica. It made me really look at our city differently and see this “person” that had been thriving, fall on hard times and get depressed, lose friends and self-worth. Then one day this person woke up and said, “I need to make a change. I don’t like this person I’ve become. I want my life back.” To look at it this way and see that a group of people has made this decision to revitalize our city, to know that’s happening and that I can get on board and contribute is pretty cool.

We also toured Gerber’s 1933 Tavern, the Children’s Museum, Baggs Square Commemorative Park and Union Station.  We continued to the Fort Schuyler Club for lunch, and then to the Stanley Center for the Arts and the F.X. Matt Brewery.  Although familiar with the Stanley, we did get a back stage tour, so I saw pieces I had not seen before.  Ending at the Brewery on my birthday was a superb bonus!

At the Brewery, we learned about the Brewery’s economic impact on Utica, and representatives from the United Way and Community Foundation presented to us regarding our upcoming projects.

The day evoked a feeling of passion for the City of Utica that I haven’t felt before.  It was great to see and feel the energy of our city.  My daily life revolves in and around the suburbs of Utica. This was a noticeable change – To be downtown and feel this new energy and vibrancy.  We learned about the history of Utica, its ascent to its heyday, then the job losses and population decline, and now this new resurgence.  Our city is on the uptick again. There’s a positive buzz and a good vibe.

I felt like I might now have a purpose with our city. I’m inspired and motivated to help, and through LMV I am afforded this opportunity.  The problems had seemed too big, but there is already a committed group of people, and I feel like I can jump in and help move things forward.  I needed this spark.

And now… The Children’s Museum. The LMV Arts & Culture Project Team of which I am a part had considered opportunities at the Children’s Museum as a choice for our project. After today, this was solidified for our team.  The Children’s Museum had started out strong, a viable entity in our area for children to learn, play and explore.  It fell on hard times and now has a new leader who is breathing new life into the museum.  But they need help, and we feel we are the group to help them.

For our next steps we’ll meet with the museum to talk about ideas, what we can offer and what they need. We’ll set reasonable expectations of what can be done in the next 6 months. We’d like to truly be a strategic resource for them with a solid action plan that they can use moving forward.

All I can say is, “Wow!” What an eye-opening and rejuvenating day.

– Brenda Rogowski, Loan and Deposit Operations Manager LMV Participant

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First Rate Service

October 16, 2015


I use First Source for many different financing needs for both my personal and business banking. What sets First Source apart in my personal experience is their “First Rate Staff”! They are service-minded, attentive to our needs and happy to help out. Their proactive approach to structuring products and services that match our business & personal needs means the kind of personalized attention that makes a difference in the long-term.

Financial services are a commodity—banking professionals who understand client needs and build relationships with their clients are not, and that makes First Source FCU unique!

– James Norrie
168 Petals, LLC

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International Credit Union Day

October 15, 2015


International Credit Union (ICU) Day is celebrated each year on the third Thursday in October; this year, on October 15th. The World Council of Credit Unions has chosen this year’s theme, “People Helping People®”, a philosophy we put into practice every day in everything we do for our Members and for the community.

To celebrate this year, we’re sharing coffee and treats in our branches, and throughout the week of October 12th, just a few of the many wonderful Member stories we receive and record: testimonials of how we’ve helped them and their families. Some are more recent, and a few (linked below) we’re sharing again. Some are individual Members, and some are Business Members, representing a variety of firms in Central New York.

We hope their stories inspire you. They certainly remind us to stay focused every day on what matters most: you. We welcome you to share these stories, or if you have one of your own, post that for us as well, using the hashtag #ICUDay. And thanks for making us who we are!

Read their stories:

This person, who needed a Home Equity Loan…

This couple, who considered us their “First” choice…

This professional, who needed services to match his busy lifestyle…

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A Chance at a Better Life

October 14, 2015

I wanted to take a few minutes to write about the exemplary service I have had while working with Mary at First Source. My husband and I have had many setbacks including some lost jobs, medical concerns, births of children, loss of income to name a few – all making life a little challenging.

We were both raised to pay our bills and bankruptcy was not an option for us. So rather, we have worked very hard to pay everything back and to start bringing up our scores.

I will be honest I contacted First Source on a whim looking for a debt consolidation loan that would offer us some monthly savings, as well as lower the balances on our credit cards, in turn increasing our credit scores.

We had already applied at another credit union and they refused to help due to our scores not being high enough. Well I guess their loss was our gain because First Source said “yes”. They said yes to giving us a chance to rebuild our credit and get ahead of the game.

It was very clear to me the difference in service that was being displayed right before my eyes from the way I had been treated elsewhere. Mary was so friendly with every call that was exchanged, and there were many. It was clear she was on my side asking questions to understand what our past was about and sincerely helping us build our future success. She was always so positive and inviting, eager to be of assistance to me. I felt her heart and knew she really wanted to help us. She clearly loved her job and the people she came in contact with. She didn’t go to work to simply collect a paycheck, that was obvious.

Mary went above and beyond. She took the time to offer a second loan, one that will change our future for sure. We have been with a terrible mortgage company for so long, unable to change because we were stuck it a rut where our scores were improving but not fast enough.

Mary offered to refinance our mortgage. Our credit situation was not perfect or even preferred. Our loan required a lot of work, but that didn’t faze Mary. She treated us just like someone with perfect credit. Even though our interest rate is not going to be reduced as much as we had initially hoped, there are so many other benefits that it was a no brainer. Mary Also let us know about the option for a rate modification that we can take advantage of within 6 months at no cost to us … WOW!!!

“Wow” is all I can say. Mary is in my opinion a HUGE asset to First Source. Thank you First Source and Mary for giving us a chance when others wouldn’t. Thank you for making a difference in our lives it was BIGGER than you think.

First Source Member, August 2015

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Decluttering Business

October 14, 2015

As a First Source Business Member, I am thrilled with the service and products they offer. Whether it is business checking, credit card processing or a working business line of credit, I can run my business knowing my financial systems are there when I need them.

The service is amazing! Members are treated liked family. Issues that arise are handled quickly with a smile. Everyone has a choice where they choose to bank. I chose First Source for their products, friendly service and commitment to our community.

– Deb Cabral, CPO
The DeClutter Coach

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Life-Saving Assistance

October 12, 2015


In April of 2015 my husband and I were in a very hard place money-wise. We had a mortgage that we could no longer afford. We had been to numerous banks, including the ones we banked with. We had actually even had been laughed at by one bank officer, who claimed that we would never get a loan with our existing credit. We felt embarrassed, helpless, and overwhelmed, thinking that we would eventually lose our home. A co-worker who was very pleased by First Source told me that I should call and see what they could do for us.

I called and explained our situation to Jaime. She was so nice and extremely helpful. I held my breath, although I didn’t feel that anything would come out of this. When Jaime called to inform us that First Source could help us, I just about cried with relief! Not only did they give us the loan to pay off our existing mortgage, they also helped with things that were hurting our credit. With everything included, our new payment was over $150 less than what we were paying for just our mortgage!

We were on our way to getting our finances in order. In September Jaime called to give me great news – my credit score had gone up almost 100 points! I had been trying hard to get my credit straightened out so this was wonderful. I had told Jaime that it was funny she had called me because I wanted to give her a call. My back roof was in terrible shape and was leaking so bad I had a tarp on it. Jaime said she would see what she could do. I informed her that this home improvement loan would need to be in my name only as my husband and I were now getting a divorce. Not only was she sympathetic of the situation, she made me feel that she could yet again help me out.

Not long after Jaime and I hung up she called back to ask if I had bought a new car since our home equity loan, which I had. Jaime asked if I would like her to see if she could get me a better rate on my car payment. I told her yes and waited to hear back from her. Not only did Jaime call to say I was approved for the home improvement loan, but they also got me a better deal on my car payment saving me another $35 a month.

I cannot express how happy I am with First Source and the help of Jaime! Not only did they help get our payments down to a payment we could afford so we wouldn’t lose our home, they also helped me in a very stressful time in my life where things were not looking good for me. Knowing that I can fix my roof before winter took a huge load off my shoulders. Also, dropping my car payment even $35 dollars a month is a huge savings especially now that I am a single mom.

I would recommend First Source to anyone who will listen! They made a huge impact on my life. I no longer feel stressed about finances. With them I am on my way to building a better credit score, and renewed confidence in my money management. I cannot thank Jaime enough for taking the time to help me out. She is truly a wonderful person, who in my book is the light at the end of a very dark tunnel.

Melissa Finn

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Think Pink: Together, We Make a Difference

October 7, 2015


We see many signs of Breast Cancer Awareness Month (ribbons, pink shirts and decorations), but what difference does it all make? As it turns out, quite a bit. We wouldn’t be a longtime supporter of the American Cancer Society if we didn’t believe in the enormous impact we all make during this month, and all year long.

To start, all the signs keep awareness of this disease top-of-mind, and part of ongoing conversations. People who are aware of it and learn more about it become stronger and better-informed supporters—of the people who fight breast cancer, and of the organizations working for better screening, education, and treatment. Which is the other product of our efforts: financial support for those who work tirelessly to find new and better treatments for breast cancer.

Not to mention the emotional support we offer to our family members, friends, and fellow community members who are afflicted, to give them strength when they need it most.

So let them know you stand with them. Whether you wear pink in solidarity, donate generously to support the fight, participate in the Making Strides Against Breast Cancer Walk, or just offer words of encouragement, you will make a difference. Each small contribution is significant on its own, and together we are a force to be reckoned with. Join us.

Learn more about what you can do.

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