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New Branch FAQ
Are you curious about Coop Fed's plans to open a new office on the Near Eastside? Here is a run down -- including what to expect, how it benefits our members, and why we're moving in this direction.
Where is the new building located?
Our new building is in Syracuse’s Near Eastside neighborhood, at 1816 Erie Boulevard East [view on Google Maps] - one block west of Westmoreland Avenue, just past Lombard Avenue. It’s basically at the tail end of Westcott Street, less than 1 mile from our 723 Westcott Street location.
When will the new office open?
We're expecting the office to open in Winter 2023. Save the date for our member open house, when you'll be able to tour the new space and discuss questions about the credit union: January 18, 2023 from 5:00 pm to 7:30 pm at 1816 Erie Blvd E.
Will one of Cooperative Federal’s existing offices shut down?
Yes, the credit union will close our Westcott Street office when the new office is complete. Our other three community branches - on North Salina Street, South Avenue, and Burt Street - will remain open. We will also close floor 2 only at our North Salina Street location, with our Community Development & Administration office relocating to the new Erie Boulevard headquarters.
Will there still be an ATM on Westcott St?
Yes, Coop Fed’s existing Westcott Street ATM will remain available after the branch is closed. We are also exploring options to move our ATM to a location within the main Westcott business district, and/or upgrade the machine so that deposits can be accepted.
How will the new location help members?
Cooperative Federal is thrilled by the prospect of bringing our members a bigger, better, more attractive and comfortable office. Specifically, the new location will offer
- Off-street parking
- Drive-through service, including an ATM with deposit capability (24/7) and a “live” teller lane (during office hours)
- Centralized access to loans, accounts, teller transactions and financial counseling, and
- A safer option for member services, considering the ongoing pandemic (with a more spacious lobby as well as drive-through services).
Ultimately, this is a move to help our credit union grow in size and scale - which is key to improving services for our members and our community.
How will the new location improve our service to small businesses?
We believe that the new location benefits all of our members (as listed above). For our member businesses, the capability to accept deposits by drive-through ATM is particularly beneficial. There will also be a secure night-drop deposit box.
Is the new location accessible for pedestrians, bikers, and bussers?
In the fall of 2020, Coop Fed conducted a member survey which showed that 79% respondents who use the Westcott Street branch travel there by car, and members at all locations frequently mention the need for drive-through services and off-street parking. That said, we know it is critical to provide safe access to our members (and our staff!) who travel by other means. The building on Erie Boulevard meets all of these needs.
Pedestrians: Thanks to the recently completed construction on Erie Boulevard East, the location of our new building is now walkable - with sidewalks along the road as well as in the central median. For example, members coming from the Westcott area can take East Genesee, to Columbus, to Erie to access the office with continuous sidewalks. We will also advocate for installation of sidewalks on Lombard Avenue, which would allow foot traffic from the Westcott area via Westcott and Lombard.
Bike Commuters: The improvements to Erie Boulevard East also offer safe access for bicyclists, with a bike lane in the central median and designated crossings. A bike rack will be available at the main entrance to our building.
Bus Routes: Centro’s East Fayette Street/Erie Boulevard Bus Route (#168/68) offers frequent bus service to our new location, especially relative to the Westcott Street route which has minimal service. Several of our staff members commute to work by bus; they almost always must take other bus routes and walk the distance from East Fayette or East Genesee to the Westcott branch. We suspect the same applies to our members! A bus stop is located about a block away from the new Erie Boulevard office and we are inquiring about installation of a covered bus shelter.
Why is Cooperative Federal choosing to leave Westcott Street, after almost 30 years in that location?
Leaving Westcott Street will surely be bittersweet. We know that Coop Fed’s presence there is very meaningful to three generations of members, and our roots in the neighborhood run deep. But despite three (or is it four?!) major renovations, we are bursting at the seams. This relocation - only one mile away, and still within the greater Eastside area - allows us to not only maintain our service to the Westcott neighborhood, but to keep investing in the future of our credit union and our city. In addition to providing key member service amenities and much-needed space, the new building offers community-wide visibility and a modern, energy-efficient building.
How does this move advance our community development & economic justice mission?
Cooperative Federal’s work is grounded in values of equity, inclusion, and justice. When we first opened our doors - originally in the Syracuse Real Food Cooperative on Kensington Avenue (1982) before moving to Westcott Street (1994) - we served a neighborhood that was struggling with blight, vacancy and disinvestment. Standing alongside other nonprofits, leaders, and activists, Coop Fed spent decades transforming the neighborhood into what it is today. And step by step, by opening more branches and expanding our membership, we’ve become a city-wide partner for grassroots revitalization and economic opportunity.
Relocating from our historic Westcott “home” to the adjacent Near Eastside neighborhood is the next step in this journey. The census tract of our new location has a population that is 68% people of color, compared to 20% in the census tract of our Westcott office; and this corresponds to significant economic disparity including a poverty rate of 56% (compared to 40% in the Westcott office census tract). Cooperative Federal’s new location is in a certified Opportunity Zone, meaning it is designated as a priority area for economic development; our presence will help ensure that development is inclusive, sustainable, and equitable.
Who can I talk to if I have questions or concerns?
You are welcome to contact Christina Sauve, CEO; Meagan Weatherby, Development & Communications Manager; or the Board of Directors.