One after another, donors lined up outside Bethpage Federal Credit Union headquarters the Friday before Thanksgiving to give a total of nearly 10,000 pounds worth of food in a massive outpouring of benevolence.
While the heartwarming show of support for the hungry at the 9th annual turkey drive was impressive, it’s just one of many charitable causes that the not-for-profit BFCU backs. The credit union’s employees donate a reported 8,000 volunteer hours with local charities annually. And it’s famously generous with its nearly $8 billion in assets that it uses to sponsor a host of local charities and events.
“Our vision is to enrich the lives of our members and our communities,” BFCU CEO Wayne Grossé tells the Press. “We like sponsoring programs that recognize the best of everything Long Island has to offer.”
BFCU — the largest credit union in the state and the Northeast and the 16th largest in the nation — started 77 years ago, originally serving Grumman employees at the defense manufacturer’s plants in Bethpage. Fifteen years ago, the credit union expanded its charter to serve anyone in Nassau and Suffolk and in 2016, when it acquired Montauk Credit Union, it went a step further, allowing anyone to bank with them.
Grossé became CEO in 2015 after joining the credit union as its chief operating officer in 1999. The Bayport resident has deep local roots, earning his Masters’ degree in Business Administration from Dowling College in Oakdale. Prior to BFCU, he was executive vice president at Island Federal Credit Union.
Besides its philanthropy, Bethpage also routinely scores high marks under Grossé. Money magazine named Bethpage Federal Credit Union the best bank in New York State. BFCU also ranks among the top employers statewide. And Bankrate rated it one of the Top 5 Best Credit Unions in the United States.
In addition to food drives and community programs, BFCU hosts include the Bethpage Air Show at Jones Beach and four simultaneous health walks in collaboration with Northwell Health on May 21. In addition, BFCU executives serve on the boards of several local nonprofits, including the YMCA, Family Service League, Island Harvest and United Way of Long Island. It’s the credit union that genuinely wants to give back.
And the benevolence pays dividends for BFCU. Thanks in part to all that good publicity and Grossé’s leadership, deposits in its federally insured accounts continue to grow, as do branches — there are now 33 — and new accounts. It has more than 250,000 members, with another 17,000 added from a merger with Northwell Health Federal Credit Union that allowed BFCU to expand into Westchester, Staten Island and New Jersey. All that’s in addition to its sponsoring the Bethpage Best of Long Island program since 2012.
“We found that a lot of the communities we serve were also promoting the small businesses through the Best of Long Island program,” Grossé says. “We see a lot of small businesses whose customers are very passionate about what they do and they like to be involved in this program…The nominees are engaged in their communities and they come out and vote and it’s a great sign that Long Island businesses are doing well.”