Olean Area FCU Announces Promotions & New Hire

Olean Area Federal Credit Union (FCU) recently promoted four employees to Management positions and one to a Director roll. The Credit Union has also appointed a new Director of Human Resources (HR). “The promotion of these employees was an essential next step, as both their individual responsibilities and our company as a whole continue to grow,” said Rich Yeager, President & CEO.

Kelly Fernandez was promoted to Portville Branch Manager. Kelly joined Olean Area FCU in February of 2022 with over 20 years of banking and credit union experience. Her diverse knowledge in teller, phone/member service, lending, and supervisory responsibilities provide the skillset necessary to succeed in this position.

Melissa Pawlowski has been promoted to Retail Lending Manager. She began her career with Olean Area FCU in April of 2013, as a Member Service Representative. She quickly advanced to Retail Lender and in 2020, Melissa earned the promotion to Retail Lending Supervisor. Melissa is responsible for leading the retail lending team and assisting members with their lending needs. In addition, she manages the credit union’s secondary market mortgage program, is a voting member of the Credit Union’s Directors Loan Committee, and directs the Credit Unions Second Review of Declined Loans for Fair Lending practices.

Jacob Piatko was promoted to Facilities & Security Manager. Jake began his career with the CU in 2020 as our Security Administrator. Jake is a graduate of Kent State University with a Bachelor of Business Administration, majoring in Computer Information Systems. Jake came to us with over 14 years of experience including It Technician, Infrastructure Technician, Infrastructure Administrator, Network Administrator and most recently as our IT Security Administrator. He also leads our Physical Security Committee.

Stewart Fuller has been promoted to Facilities & Physical Security Manager. Stewart began his career with the CU in 2020 with over 20 years of experience in facilities, general contracting, security, and management responsibilities. Since joining the CU as Facilities & Security Supervisor, Stewart has proven his ability to secure our buildings and improve the safety of our employees through education and training. Stewart is lead on our Physical Security Committee and is also a key member of the CU Building and Planning Committee.

Michelle Freeman has been promoted to Director of Finance. She began her career with Olean Area FCU in 2011 as an Accounting Intern. After earning her Bachelor’s in Accounting, she began her role as Accounting Assistant. In 2013, she earned her Master’s Degree in Business Administration. She quickly earned promotions to Financial Analyst, Senior Financial Analyst, Finance Supervisor, and Finance Manager.

Tamara Warner was hired as our new HR Director. Tamara is a graduate of SUNY Fredonia with a Bachelor’s in Psychology and a Master’s in HR Management from Nazareth College. She is PHR Certified and has over 17 years of HR Management experience, most recently with PEKO Precision Products in Rochester.

Olean Area FCU is currently one of the largest and most respected full-service Credit Unions in Western New York with assets over 400 million. The credit union currently serves over 19,800 members with four locations, 1201 Wayne Street and 206 North Clark Street in Olean, 180 West Main Street in Allegany, and 160 South Main Street in Portville. 

Don’t Get Caught in a P2P Scam

Before discussing how to avoid a P2P scam, you may be wondering what “P2P” stands for. A peer-to-peer (P2P) service is a decentralized platform whereby two individuals interact directly with each other, without intermediation by a third party. Instead, the buyer and the seller transact directly with each other via the P2P service. Google Wallet, PayPal, Snapcash, Venmo and Bitcoin are examples of P2P services.

P2P platforms are super-convenient. But, P2P scams are rampant and varied. Plus, once money is transferred by P2P, it’s usually gone forever.

Here are five P2P scams to beware of:

1.      Mystery money

In this P2P scam, a stranger “accidentally” sends the target money and then reaches out, wanting their money back. The target sees these funds in their P2P account and returns them. Unfortunately, though, because this money was added to the target’s account using a stolen credit card or account, the platform flags the original transaction as fraud and removes the funds from the victim’s account. 

2.      Hidden credit card fraud

In this P2P scam, a fraudster purchases an item listed on a site, like Craigslist, using a P2P service. They’ll pick up the item, or have it shipped to their home, and they’ll never be heard from again. Meanwhile, the P2P platform will eventually recognize the funds for the purchase come from a bogus source, and will take the money back from the seller. 

3.      Utility scams

In this scam, a “rep” from a utility company reaches out to a target, claiming their service will be shut off unless a payment is made immediately. The scammer insists on payment by P2P. Unfortunately, once the transfer is made, it can be impossible to reclaim the money. 

4.      Password scam

In this scam, an alleged representative of a credit union or bank will reach out to a target by text, asking them to approve a recent large P2P transfer from their account. A “no” response will prompt the scammer to call the victim. Posing again as a rep of their financial institution, they’ll offer to assist in reclaiming the allegedly frauded money. To do so, the scammer claims the victim will need to share their Zelle login credentials. Unfortunately, if the victim shares the one-time passcode, the scammer can change the password and send themselves money through the victim’s account. 

5.      Bogus receipts

Here, a scammer will insert themselves into a legitimate P2P transaction by digitally manipulating a screenshot to make it appear as if they have completed a part of an ongoing deal and insisting you now owe them money. In truth, though, the transaction was never completed and, if you send the money, you’ll be sending it directly to a scammer’s P2P account.

Stay safe

  • Only send and accept funds from people you know and trust. 
  • Never give out your passwords/pins/challenge response tokens to anyone.
  • Use strong passwords and don’t reuse them across any accounts.
  • Use 2 Factor Authentication.
  • Don’t use guest or unsecured networks when doing transactions or logging into accounts.
  • Always confirm you’re interacting with the correct person by verifying their phone number at every stage of the P2P transaction process.
  • Call the P2P platform’s customer service number directly to resolve any errors. Similarly, reach out to High Point Federal Credit Union directly if you receive notification of an allegedly frauded account
  • Check your checking account after every P2P transaction to confirm that you’ve received the funds. 

Olean Area FCU Promotes Four to Executive Roles

Olean Area Federal Credit Union (FCU) has promoted four directors to Vice President positions. “Our Credit Union is committed to continuous improvement and expansion of our products and services to best meet the expectations our members deserve. Each of these key positions is being filled by professionals with extensive experience and I am confident they will be successful in their new roles,” said Rich Yeager, President & CEO.

Tonya Doxey has been promoted to Vice President of Compliance. She began her career with the Credit Union over 30 years ago as a Teller, quickly advancing to Assistant Head Teller. She was then promoted to Assistant Loan Officer, earning the promotion to Loan Officer in 2002. In 2005, Tonya was promoted to Member Service/Lending Coordinator, a position she held until 2009 when she became the Manager of Member Services. In 2012, Tonya changed focus and became the Manager of Compliance, with a promotion to Director in 2020. Tonya is responsible to ensure the credit union’s overall compliance with applicable rules, regulations, and statutory requirements, across all departments, Bank Secrecy Act, Due Diligence, Legal Notices, Audit and Security.

Joseph Leo has been promoted to Vice President of Information Technology. (IT) Joe joined the Olean Area FCU Team in 2019 as the first Director of IT. He is a graduate of Western Governor’s University with a bachelor’s degree in business and MBA in Information Technology Management. Joe joined our team with over 20 years of IT and Managerial experience, immediately elevating the strength and integrity of the IT Department. He will continue to oversee, plan and secure IT and infrastructure to meet present and future member needs using technology in improving our processes and expanding our services.

Michael Smith was promoted to Vice President of Lending. Mike is a graduate of SUNY Buffalo with a bachelor’s degree in Business Administration. Prior to joining our team, Mike had over 8 years of banking experience which consisted of leadership development, credit analysis, and the title of Municipal Loan Officer.  Mike joined Olean Area FCU in 2014 as a Senior Commercial Lender, quickly earning the promotion to Manager of Commercial Operations/Senior Commercial Lender in 2016. His hard work and dedication to commercial members earned him the promotion to Director of Lending in 2021. Mike is responsible for the management and oversight of our Retail Lending, Commercial Lending, Loan Operations, Card Services, and Asset and Recovery Departments. His primary role is to direct and oversee all aspects of lending activity for the Credit Union and to ensure effective and efficient operations, quality of member service, and compliance with existing regulations and policies.

Audra Stevens has been promoted to Vice President of Operations. Audra is a graduate of St. Bonaventure University with a bachelor’s degree in Business Administration & Marketing. She joined the Credit Union team with over 20 years of Banking Management and Senior Management experience in areas of; Marketing and Sales, Branch Management, Operations, Regional Sales, and Banking Services. She joined Olean Area FCU in 2011 as the Manager of Sales and Marketing, earning a promotion to Director of Operations in 2019. Audra oversees the operation of our branch network and Marketing Department, to ensure efficient product and service delivery to our membership.

Olean Area FCU is currently one of the largest and most respected full-service Credit Unions in Western New York with assets over 400 million. The credit union currently serves over 19,800 members with four locations, 1201 Wayne Street and 206 North Clark Street in Olean, 180 West Main Street in Allegany, and 160 South Main Street in Portville. 

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