2018 Advocacy Honoree - Arrha Credit Union

Arrha Credit Union
2018 Advocacy Honoree

Announced on March 1, 2018, Michael Ostrowski, our President and CEO of Arrha Credit Union and other representatives from the Massachusetts First Congressional District, met with Congressman Richard Neal in the Ways and Means Committee Library in Washington, D.C.  The goal of the meeting was to express their thoughts and viewpoints to Congressman Neal on pending credit union legislation being brought forth to the House of Representatives.  “It is important to hear the voices of the credit union industry and be part of the ongoing discussions.”

In October 2017, Mike testified on allowing technological advances; increasing transactional authority for chartering and merging credit unions; and increasing in state authority for low-income designation. 

A priority of Arrha is to be able to fully utilize today’s advances in technology.  We are not allowed to offer electronic loan applications, along with other credit unions.  Our members want technological convenience.  Also, mail was meaningful during the time this law was enacted; however, today’s electronic voting has largely taken the place of mail ballot voting, and is more easily accessible for members to actively participate in our governance.  It is clear that values and general banking business dynamics change very quickly in this day and age; as a result, it is necessary that our laws are also kept up-to-date, modernized, with today’s needs.

In June 2018, Allison Litera of The Republican, Newspaper, wrote an article about how Arrha helped to rebuild Puerto Rican financial system post hurricane Maria. 

She wrote, “with the aftermath of Hurricane Maria still affecting parts of Puerto Rico, any outside assistance has been useful to the small island. Clothing donations, food, and volunteers rebuilding homes and businesses have been necessary. Financial stability is crucial to rejuvenating any community struck by loss, and for those who need assistance, credit unions are there to help.”

Our President, Michael Ostrowski, was asked by the World Council of Credit Unions (WOCCU) to go to Puerto Rico to help their local credit unions.  Since Puerto Rico is part of the WOCCU, Mike didn’t think twice to offer our help with this project.  As Allison wrote, the meetings were organized “to help Puerto Rico with financial education, assistance, guidance, and new rules and regulations to follow post-disaster.”  Mike met with members of the federal government, “G-25,” a group of 25 Puerto Rican credit union members, as well as executives from the Association of Cooperative Executives (ASCE).  Mike noted, our businesses are required to have emergency preparedness plans; but when disaster actually strikes, most of the time you will have to shoot from the hip because you can’t plan for how much or how the disaster will affect you.” 

Nearly 30 – 40% of our members at Arrha in Springfield are Hispanic or from Puerto Rico.  We want them to know that we care and support their families back home. To help locally, right where Arrha branches are located, an ad was created to offer additional offerings with incentives to help as noted below.