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Western Division FCU to cover two counties

Western Division Federal Credit Union has been approved by regulators for a new federal charter to serve all of Erie and Chautauqua counties, the first credit union in the area to get a dual-county charter.

The new authority means anyone who lives, works, worships, volunteers or goes to school in either county is eligible to join the credit union. Businesses or other legal entities can also join.

That gives Western Division, which currently has 12,500 members from 250 employer groups, churches, unions and associations, a potential field of membership of 1 million people.

"Now more people can take advantage of our products and services, and we will be able to impact the community even more positively than in the past," said president and CEO Craig Mellenthien.

Founded in 1937 to serve employees of the Niagara Hudson Power Corp. -- now Niagara Mohawk Corp. -- Williamsville-based Western Division also operates an office in Dunkirk and plans additional branches in Lancaster, Amherst and Orchard Park.

The credit union has been preparing for growth over the past two years by strengthening its infrastructure, expanding management, and enhancing its telephone service center. It's also a member of a no-surcharge ATM network that gives its members access to more than 850 machines throughout Western New York and through participating supermarkets.

e-mail: jepstein@buffnews.com

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