BROOKLYN, N.Y. -- The $1.2 billion Polish and Slavic Federal Credit Union played an even larger role than usual in this year's Pulaski Day Parade in New York. The annual day, scheduled for the first Sunday in October, celebrates the arrival of Poles in America. This year was the 400th anniversary.
"The Pulaski Day Parade is a special time for all Polish Americans, but especially for our credit union because we are able to take center stage to let everyone know how deeply committed we are to this community," explained Bogdan Chmielewski, CEO at Polish and Slavic. "We are so much more than just a bank to our people. That's where the credit union difference comes into play. Our members look to us for leadership, support and assistance. This is a role and responsibility that we cherish and hold sacred."
This year's theme of focusing on the future while holding on to the past gained particular poignancy from the elections, the CU said, reporting that it had led a significant effort to get its members to vote. In June, Polish and Slavic sent voter registration forms along with its statements to 70,000 members.
With its cutting-edge mobile branch leading the way down Fifth Avenue in Manhattan, the PSFCU impressed the thousands of onlookers with its colorful display, rhythmic Polish music and its scores of children dressed in decorative Polish folk costumes, the CU reported.
"We felt it is important to press our members to be heard, whether it's on the local level or the national level," said Chmielewski. "This is yet another example of how we actively participate in the lives and events that have shaped Polonia over the past 32 years."
With nearly 150 PSFCU representatives taking part, the PSFCU float was festooned with colorful balloons and eye-catching props. The centerpiece was a large, oversized layout of two mock-up laptop computers showing the PSFCU Web page that showcased the CU's online banking solution.
But what impressed most parade-goers was the credit union's mobile branch that led the procession. The "CU on wheels," as some call it, is a vehicle outfitted with the latest banking technology and security. The mobile unit can travel the country, setting up temporary operations wherever there are PSFCU members, PSFCU said.