BROOKHAVEN, Pa. – The December 31 robbery of a credit union’s low income branch may force the institution to “think long and hard” about if and how it wants to continue operations in that location, according to the credit union’s CEO. On the last day of 2002, armed robbers made off with just over $200,000 from the $26 million Sentry Federal Credit Union’s branch in a lower income part of Philadelphia. The branch is significantly outside the credit union’s geographic charter and only became part of the credit union’s operations when NCUA asked Sentry to take over a failing credit union at that site, according to Philip Travaglini, credit union CEO. Travaglini explained that with his background in commercial banking he initially questioned why his predecessor had even picked up the branch since it costs the institution money, but added that “since I have grown in the credit union movement I have come to understand more about why it is that some decisions like that are made.” Travaglini said that the credit union’s branch had a lot of money at that time because the branch’s 1,800 members include a lot of pensioners and other recipients of checks at the first of the month. Most of that money was destined to cash our member’s checks, he said. He would not speculate how the robbers might have known that the credit union branch would have as much money as it did at that time. “We are just glad that everyone is safe,” he said. “The robbers were armed, there were employees of the credit union with guns to their heads and members of the credit union in the branch at the time,” he added.

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