Advanced Financial FCU Board Member Jim Bressi Speaks to the Family Atmosphere of the Credit Union that Once Served Employees of Bell Labs and Continues to Make Impact Today

The credit union movement was founded on the philosophy of “people helping people”, with many of these financial institutions founded by working class citizens who saw a need amongst their colleagues for fair, convenient financial services.

IMG 1393Advanced Financial Federal Credit Union not only exists to serve its members through that philosophy, but they were born out of one of the largest and most innovative corporations in America, which was also operated with the “people helping people” frame of mind: Bell Labs.

Jim Bressi, an employee of Bell Labs, became a member of the credit union, then called Bell Telephone Labs Credit Union, in 1966, over 50 years ago. He has been on the board of the credit union, now named Advanced Financial FCU, for over 30 years.

Now a retired Bell Labs employee, he still serves on the board of the credit union that used to serve him and his colleagues exclusively.

In this edition of the Service Series, Jim speaks to the family atmosphere of the labs and the credit union, and what has kept him serving for over 30 years…

What brought you to the credit union industry?
I joined the credit union in 1966. As do a lot of people that were there at Bell Labs, I had a soft spot for the credit union. When I got married, I had to borrow money to pay for my honeymoon and furniture, etc., so I went to the credit union. They were very easy to deal with. My friends and colleagues were on the board there. They were doing a great job. Then they asked me to join the board as well. So I decided, “let's be a part of it.”

Why have you stayed involved for so long?
I enjoyed the people that I have worked with on the board then and now. Back then, I had a number of instances where members of the credit union actually worked for me or around me in the laboratories. On the board, I could help out and make sure that we're doing the right stuff as far as all these employees of Bell Labs are concerned.

They’ve had some terrific people on the board. Everyone was interested in making the credit union better for its members, for the employees, which we have done over the years. It is a family. It was great to have the people that work for me know that someone's looking out for them.

How would you say credit unions are different, why should people care about credit unions?
I felt that we always did more than a bank would do. We were very accessible. As a board member, you’d run into people in the hallway, ask them how they’re doing, what’s going on in their life. And you could relate. Whereas when you go to a bank, you just stand in line to see the teller who maybe doesn’t know who you are or what’s going on in your life. As opposed to walking through the hallway and meeting a board member.

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Advanced Financial Federal Credit Union membership is available to anyone who lives, works, goes to school or worships in Union or Essex County, NJ. It offers members a full range of financial services, similar to banks. It offers residents an alternative to the costly services of mega-banks, and the option of a financial institution under local ownership. For more information, visit www.advfinfcu.com.