Manager Retires After 69-Year Career At CU

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BUFFALO-There are long careers, and then there is the career of Betty Lou Young, who retired in October from the $6-million Buffalo Police FCU after 69 years on the job!

Young started at the age of 14 as a part-time file clerk and ended her career as treasurer/manager, running the CU for the last 36 years. Young, now 83, talked with Credit Union Journal about her life in the CU movement.

CUJ: How did you get started with credit unions?

Young: The credit union opened in 1941 with deposits from 25 police officers. They each put in $5 and my dad was one of the original members, so he tipped me on the part-time job. When I got full-time work I remember bringing home $18 a week. I felt like a millionaire, with my friends working at the five-and-dime.

CUJ: What was the biggest change in running a credit union over the years?

Young: Bringing in computers. That happened 17 years ago. We were always paper, pen, and pencil, and that was fine. But we eventually became accustomed to computers. I have to say, though, computers did not make us more accurate. We managed pretty well the old-fashioned way.

CUJ: What did you enjoy most about working at the credit union?

Young: It was a very responsible job, but rewarding in many ways. I got to work with people every day and make a difference in their lives. I always tried to help people as best as I could. I got to know all of my members by first name. I knew their family members' names, when they were having babies, and when they eventually sent the kids off to college. We started with 25 members and we have 1,971 today. When I left I still knew 90% of them by their first names. You'd never see that at a bank, and I think that's why the members always liked stopping in.

CUJ: You said you spent your working career in two locations?

Young: We started out at Police Station No. 4 in Buffalo and moved in 1941 to Buffalo Police Headquarters. I sat in the same small office most of my career.

CUJ: How did you become manager?

Young: As I said, I started out doing filing and then moved up to a more professional secretary position. When World War II broke out, some of the girls took jobs to support the war and I moved up. I became assistant treasurer/manager working under Leo McDave. When he passed away in 1974, I became treasurer/manager. Members used to come in and say, "Lets see Uncle Leo." Then it was, "Let's go see Aunt Betty."

CUJ: Why did you decide to retire?

Young: It was a hard, very hard decision. The credit union has been such a big part of my life, like an extended family. But last year I fell and broke my hip and now I get around with a cane. I was not looking forward to fighting my way to work in these tough Buffalo winters. So I decided to retire and spend more time with my family and friends. But I'll always miss the credit union and the members who made it a great place to spend a big part of my life."

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