ccseBy Jann Wiswall

The Cattaraugus County School Employees (CCSE) Federal Credit Union will be opening its new location in Ellicottville at the Ellicottville Square complex on Bristol Lane in late October or early November. This will be the credit union’s second branch — the first is located in Salamanca at 417 Broad Street.

CCSE has a long history in Salamanca. It was started in 1977 as a benefit for school employees. Initially, it was run out of a school and then a member’s home. The Broad Street location opened in 1994 and membership has been growing ever since as more schools have become members, and membership among businesses, non-profit organizations, fire departments, churches and others has grown.

Today, more than 4,300 members take advantage of the credit union’s offerings. And with the new Ellicottville location, membership is expected to grow even more.

“Ellicottville is the right place to be at the right time,” says CCSE’s marketing and IT chief Jamie Buffamonte. “The new branch will be much more convenient to many more of our current and eligible members, especially those who live and work in northern parts of the county.”

The new location will offer all of the same services and benefits as the Salamanca site, including better interest rates on savings, certificates of deposit and loans than traditional banks typically offer. Plus, CCSE offers free checking, online banking, direct deposit, VISA debit cards, and drive-through, ATM and mobile banking. CCSE also is part of the ATM Co-Op Network, allowing members to bank at any Co-Op ATM across the country without paying a surcharge.

Credit unions are different from banks in that they are not-for-profit, meaning all income generated through loans and services are poured back into the business. In addition, credit unions have members, not customers, and are owned by that membership. They are run by volunteer boards of directors elected by the membership, and any member can run for board or committee positions.

Another difference is the personal relationships that credit union employees are able to build with members.

“We’re like a part of the family,” says CCSE General Manager Ginger Haley. “We know our members and they know us. This allows us to find ways to customize services for each individual’s needs.”

While you must be a part of a member organization in order to join, once you open a savings account with just $5, you and your entire family can hold accounts there, earn dividends, apply for loans and take advantage of many other services. If you retire or change jobs after opening your account, you retain your membership for as long as you like.

You might already be able to open an account with CCSE and not even know it. Anyone living or working in the Salamanca zip code of 14779 already is eligible. Employees of Ellicottville, Cattaraugus/Little Valley, Salamanca and West Valley Central Schools all are eligible, as are members of any church or organization located in Salamanca. If a family member is eligible, so are you. And in and around Ellicottville, employees of HoliMont and J.D. Northrup Construction may participate. A full list of current member organizations is available at

If you own or run a business or organization that would like to offer your employees a new, risk-free benefit, simply contact CCSE at any time. Small and large organizations alike can join, and part- and full-time employees may participate.

If you’re an employee, ask your employer to consider becoming a member organization. Visit for more information, or call

(716) 945-5340.