PLATTSBURGH — A local financial institution deserves extra credit for its new operations center.
Dannemora Federal Credit Union President and CEO Randall Martin said employees are really pleased with the new facility on Tom Miller Road in the Town of Plattsburgh.
“It’s just wonderful to have everybody (administration staff) in the same building,” he said.
MATCHES BRANCH OFFICE
The building is located right behind the credit union’s branch at 342 Tom Miller Road and provides a nearly identical match in exterior appearance, including natural looking brown siding and stone pillars.
Prior to the new operations center, a number of staff were forced to share office space.
“We moved our Accounting Department from Dannemora,” Martin said. “That freed up space here.”
Martin has a corner office on the first floor, which is also equipped for meetings and conference calls. They host monthly teleconferences and previously had to rent a site to hold those meetings.
All of the offices offer a bright interior and natural lighting thanks to numerous windows.
The 3,900 square feet on the first floor also includes space for the chief financial officer, chief operating officer, chief information officer, Risk and Compliance Department, controller, internal auditor, marketing specialist, management officer and Accounting Department. There is also an employee lounge with kitchen amenities, server room and mechanical room.
The second floor, at 2,900 square feet, is presently vacant but leaves plenty of room for future growth. One possibility would be to use part of that space for a board of directors meeting space.
Martin said they have about 43 employees. The credit union has other locations on New York Road in Plattsburgh as well as in Dannemora and Champlain.
The general contractor was Pennsylvania-based PW Campbell, but local sub-contractors were used for as much of the work as possible. Work on the building started in September, continued throughout the winter, and staff were able to move in by the end of March.
BUSINESS HAS GROWN
Martin said that when he came aboard in 2010, Dannemora Federal had about $108 million in assets. That figure now is about $140 million, with about $12 million of that the result of the acquisition of Champlain Federal Credit Union in 2011.
He was the CEO at Champlain Federal until Sept 2010 and was able to pave the way for board approval of its acquisition shortly after he made the move to Dannemora Federal.
“That has been very beneficial,” Martin said, as they have a number of correction-officer members who used to have to travel from the Northern Tier for their credit union transactions prior to the acquisition.
Martin said he has emphasized community outreach since he took over, and many employees are involved in local community organizations and charitable events.
He has also urged his employees to spread the word about the benefits of credit unions.
Members, not stock holders, are the owners of a credit union. Each member gets one vote on decisions, regardless of the size of their deposit.
The board of directors is made up of volunteer members, democratically elected by the full membership. Because there are no stockholders to pay, a credit union is able to offer higher dividends on savings accounts on shares and lower rates on loans.
Dannemora Federal started in 1958 at the Dannemora State Hospital. It was initially limited to hospital employees, the credit union and their immediate families.
The permanent location on the state prison grounds opened in 1983. Its community charter was approved in 2000, which opened membership to anyone who works, lives, worships or attends school in Clinton County.
The Tom Miller road office opened in 2002, the New York Road one in 2008 and the present Champlain branch in 2011.
WORKED WITH TOWN
Martin said they had a positive experience working the the Town Planning Department and Planning Board, especially with helpful suggestions between the sketch plan approval and final approval of the detailed preliminary plans.
Town Supervisor Bernie Bassett said he was pleased to get a look at the new operations center during a recent open house.
“I think the location is ideal,” he said. “It’s another sign of a growing community as our financial institutions expand.”
Bassett said it was gratifying to hear the credit union was able to work well with the town and it was nice to see the design, with wood and stone features, matches the theme developing in other projects along Tom Miller Road.
Email Dan Heath:firstname.lastname@example.org