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Serving the communities of Massena and Potsdam, New York
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Wilson presents SeaComm’s expansion plans to village board

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MASSENA - SeaComm Federal Credit Union CEO Scott Wilson made a presentation to village board members Tuesday night, assuring them they will maintain and pay taxes on its two downtown properties until the buildings are sold.

“We will maintain those and pay our taxes until we sell them,” he said. “We won’t sell them to just anyone.”

The credit union will eventually be closing its call center on Andrews Street, as well as its 79 Main St. branch, moving both locations into its soon to be expanded 30 Stearns Street location.

Mr. Wilson said this is something the company has been discussing since 2009 when they began keeping track of teller transactions.

Since 2007 membership has grown by 20 percent, he said, noting they now have well over 40,000 members. However, during that same period of time, the number of transactions handled by tellers has continued to decline.

With the advent of direct deposit and on line financial services, Mr. Wilson said people simply no longer need to go to the credit union and can do much of their banking from home.

“You don’t have to come in unless you get that occasional birthday check or your employer still provides a written check,” he said.

Plans for the consolidation and expansion were initially put on hold during the recession, but with the economy on the rebound and Alcoa announcing earlier this year they were moving forward with their modernization plans Mr. Wilson said the board of directors has decided that now is the time to move forward with the $5.1 million project.

While some people have voiced displeasure that the credit union is leaving downtown, Mr. Wilson said it will be adding 28 new jobs over the next several years, a number that could even end up larger than that.

“These are $35,000 to $40,000 positions,” he said, adding these jobs could help keep young people in the area or even bring people back who may have moved elsewhere to find work.

To make room for an expanded branch and the company’s call center, Mr. Wilson said they will be constructing a 15,870 square foot addition that will also leave room for expansion again in the future, if needed.

“This building will be designed to expand to another floor, if needed,” he said.

While the downtown branch will be closing, Mr. Wilson said the credit union will maintain a presence downtown with an ATM machine in a yet to be determined location.

Mr. Wilson said the presence of a downtown ATM has been one of the main concerns he’s heard from credit union members.

“It’s tough to take away something you’ve already had,” he said, noting the downtown ATM will be a drive-through machine.

“This is good for Masssena,” he said, adding that much of the construction work will be done by local contractors. “We’re not abandoning Massena. We’re just going to where we’ll have some additional space.”

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