story & photo
by Alexis Ann
Interview with Bruce J. Fafard, President and CEO, Ledge Light Federal Credit Union
Bruce J. Fafard, President and CEO, Ledge Light Federal Credit Union, stresses the importance of community in his credit union and says that, at his institution, “We’re here to help people with their financial lives.”
Bruce began his job as CEO of Ledge Light Federal Credit Union on April 31, 2007. Now, a little background on credit unions, they are owned by their deposit holders, unlike commercial banks which are owned by their shareholders.
The credit union is open to those working for Pfizer, its subsidiaries and employees of the companies that work within Pfizer Inc. Ledge Light is also open to the families of those people and the employees of the credit union itself.
In its early years it was only open to, “The Pfizer community,” stated Bruce. Now, membership is open to 69 businesses, called Strategic Partners, including Cardinal Honda, Court Square Data Group, A/Z Corporation, K Force, and TVACCA, and persons who live, work, worship or attend school in, and businesses located in 12 census tracts within New London County. Visit www.ledgelightfcu.org to see if you or your business qualifies.
Ledge Light Federal Credit Union opened its doors 41 years ago, when six Pfizer employees decided that they needed their own financial institution. To this day, the credit union enjoys close ties to Pfizer. Since credit unions are owned by their deposit holders, Bruce says, “When Pfizer prospers, we prosper.”
In Ledge Light’s commitment to helping the community it serves, steps were taken to offer aid including preparing taxes for lower income households.
During last year’s tax season, 12 of Ledge Light’s employees took IRS classes in order to help households earning $50,000 a year or less prepare their taxes. Bruce was one of the employees who decided that he wanted to help out his community through this free tax preparation program.
The credit union tries to help everyone it can. Recently, a single mother applied for a loan and was approved, though she probably would have been turned down at another institution.
Bruce explained how this young mother needed the loan to get a car so that she could go to work to support her children, “These are the things that make my job worthwhile.”
“We don’t just look at your credit score,” though it does certainly play into whether the customer is approved for a loan or not. “We look at the person’s ability to pay back the loan.”
A credit rebuilder program is offered to Ledge Light customers who need help building a better credit score and getting their finances in control.
“We try to work with people,” states Bruce. “There are times when we may advise a customer that a purchase is too big for them.”
Ledge Light Federal Credit Union offers every kind of financial need, from loans to credit cards. For example, the credit union offers Visa’s Platinum Preferred Card which is a lower interest credit card and has a number of convenient features such as ATM accessibility.
Bruce admits that although his credit union is doing well, “2010 will be a tough year.” His prediction is that the unemployment rate will increase a bit. However, “In this part of Connecticut we’re holding our own.”
Ledge Light has not done sub prime lending or interest only lending and they have continued to lend during the recession. As for a few years down the road, Bruce says, “We’re excited about the future.” Ledge Light Federal Credit Union is doing well in this area of Connecticut and will continue to do so.
Bruce earned his undergraduate degree in finance from Southern Connecticut State University and his M.B.A. from the University of New Haven.
Bruce worked in a number of different fields before settling at the bank when, in 2007 his current job opened up and he applied for the position. His career path includes time spent working at Sikorsky Aircraft and owning a commercial flooring business.