LIGHTNING RELEASES — BROOKLYN, NY (June 6, 2014) – In a symbolic move celebrating both its roots and its adopted home, the Polish & Slavic Federal Credit Union raised the red and white Polish flag next to the American flag at the credit union’s headquarters in Brooklyn last week.
In front of an assembled crowd of Polish army veterans, local teachers and students, credit union executives and members, religious leaders, and various groups representing the Greenpoint neighborhood, PSFCU Chairman Krzysztof Matyszczyk paid tribute to the credit union’s Polish heritage by hoisting the Polish flag for the first time next to its American counterpart.
Assisting with the ceremonial raising of the Polish flag was World War II veteran Antoni Chroscielewski, who fought at the Battle of Monte Cassino, and the commander of District Two of the Polish Army Veterans Association in New York. Prior to it being raised, the American flag was unfurled by Capt. Stefan Komar, deputy police chief in Greenpoint, and the son of a Warsaw Uprising participant. The two patriotic symbols will continue to hang on the flagpole of the nation’s largest ethnic credit union indefinitely.
“Thirty-eight years ago, a group of Polish immigrants under the leadership of the late Reverand Longin Tołczyk affixed their signatures to the founding charter of our credit union here in Greenpoint, which was a completely different neighborhood than we see it now,” said Mr. Matyszczyk. “These newcomers from behind the Iron Curtain settled in Greenpoint and found limited opportunities for obtaining a loan or even opening a bank account. And our fledgling credit union was neglected and ignored by investors, and seemed to have no prospects for development. The growth and current financial strength of the Polish & Slavic Federal Credit Union has certainly surpassed the wildest expectations of Reverend Tołczyk and his associates. Today Greenpoint is one of the most dynamically growing neighborhoods of New York.”
Mr. Matyszczyk further pointed out that the credit union’s two branches in Greenpoint service more than 32,000 local members and have made loans totaling nearly $350 million since its inception. In total, the PSFCU has in excess of 80,000 members and assets in excess of $1.5 billion.
“I am convinced that there is no other financial institution which could have made such a vital contribution to the development of Greenpoint,” said Mr. Matyszczyk. “The credit union is a symbol not only of Greenpoint, but also of the success and hard work of all Polish-Americans.”
“It’s only appropriate that there be a symbol of Poland in the heart of Greenpoint – a symbol that highlights the Polish identity of the neighborhood and serves as a reminder of where we came. I am convinced that the Polish flag will remain here forever,” said Bogdan Chmielewski, chief executive officer, who initiated the placement of the flagpoles in front of PSFCU headquarters on McGuinness Boulevard.
The Polish & Slavic Federal Credit Union was established in Greenpoint, New York, in 1976. Since then it has expanded to 16 branches in three states: New York, New Jersey and Illinois. With almost 80,000 members and more than $1.5 billion in assets, PSFCU is the largest ethnic federal credit union in the United States today.