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Credit union has been in the city nearly 80 years

| Wednesday, Jan. 16, 2013, 9:07 p.m.
Pieces of memorabilia tied to the Elliott Federal Credit Union are kept at the office.
Elliott Credit Union staff members pose for a portrait in their Jeannette office. From left are Terry Christofano, Mary Zummo, Anna Mauro, Samantha Walter, Rhonda Kester, Jim Benson, CEO, and Colleen Kivala. Margie Stanislaw | The Jeannette Spirit

The Elliott Federal Credit Union is a longtime staple in Jeannette and has grown considerably over the years to include not just the Elliott Company but about 200 other area companies.

The Credit Union Act was passed in 1934 and the Elliott Federal Credit Union was started in 1935.

Tom Smith was the founder of the Elliott Credit Union and back in the 1930s, he would go around and collect money from employees by hand.

The business of the Elliott Federal Credit Union, like so many credit unions back then, was run out of Smith's home.

Eventually, the Credit Union was moved out of Smith's home and into its current location at 920 N. Fourth St.

The building underwent extensive renovation in the 1990s, but even given that renovation, the credit union has still expanded.

Former Chief Executive Officer Harry Smail took the credit union to new heights in the 1970s by bringing on other member businesses.

Since 2000, the Elliott Federal Credit Union added the functioning credit unions of Omnova Solutions (Jeannette Rubber Credit Union), Overly Manufacturing and the Tribune Review.

According to current Chief Executive Officer Jim Benson, “ We brought in new members by taking over these credit unions that needed help. We brought in their board members and this helped us and we helped them.”

This expansion has now added offices for the Elliot Federal Credit Union at 100 Chambers Ave. in Jeannette and at 662 N. Main St. in Greensburg.

Although credit unions and banks have many similarities, one of the big differences is that credit unions are member owned.

This makes some of the terminology a little bit different as well.

Accounts at the credit union are called “share accounts” and checks are often referred to as “share drafts.”

But just like any other banking institution, all the financial needs can be met locally at the Elliott Credit Union.

This includes savings accounts, checking accounts, car loans, mortgages and other financial needs.

Also, since the Jeannette Rubber Credit Union has joined with Elliott Federal Credit Union, drive-through service is also offered at the Chambers Avenue location.

“The personal touch is what separates us from other institutions,” said Benson. “If you have a regular credit card and something happens, when you make that call you don't know where it goes.

“When you have a credit, debit or Visa card through us, when you make a call to rectify a problem that call comes directly to us. I've handled problems with cards on weekends. You just don't get that with other banks.

“Our employees are not here to sell. They are here to provide the best customer service.”

Along with all of the other services that Elliott Credit Union offers, it has a Student Financial Program.

This is a program where parents can load a student's debit card while he or she is at school.

The student can use that debit card for free at an Allpoints debit machine.

Should there be a problem, or something bounces, rather than charge a lot of fees, the Credit Union will endeavor to work with the parents first.

In regard to students, Elliott Federal Credit Union also offers two $500 college scholarships annually and also has another program for college students and their parents, in which the student can get a credit card that enables them to build good credit.

To become a member of the credit union, a potential customer's company must belong to the credit union, or a family member must belong.

Companies that are interested in becoming members of the Elliott Federal Credit Union, must send a letter to Benson expressing interest in membership.

For information and hours of operation, Elliott Federal Credit Union can be contacted at 724-527-2822.

More information can be found online at the credit union's website at

Margie Stanislaw is a freelance writer.

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