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Growing Forward with the Owners’ Dividend: Mike

Perspective from Mike, ESL Senior Home Equity Underwriter

Mike Suss will celebrate his 12th work anniversary with ESL Federal Credit Union this December. He started as a part-time teller at the ESL Webster branch and was promoted to full-time within a few months. From there, he moved to relationship banker at the Chili branch and, after a year and a half, landed in the Home Equity Department.

Today, Mike is in his fifth year as a senior home equity underwriter based on Chestnut Street, where he makes an incredible impact on customers by supporting lending for individuals and families in our community.

“It’s not like we’re giving someone $500 to go on vacation,” Mike says. “We’re giving them substantial money to refinance debt or improve their home. It’s life-changing money.”

His work with home equity loans is closely connected to the ESL Owners’ Dividend program, a payout for members that’s based on banking balances and savings accounts, loan amounts and more. When Mike works with an ESL member on a home-equity loan, that influences part of their Owners’ Dividend—meaning more money could show up in their account.

One of Mike’s happiest memories of working with an ESL member came early in his career as a teller, when a woman in her 20s came in to make a payment on her auto loan. As they talked, Mike realized she had enough money in her account to pay off her loan that day. Because of the Owners’ Dividend payouts that had collected in her account—that she didn’t even know were there—she was able to pay off her loan early. Today, she’s a proud ESL member, and Mike set her up with a personal banking account.

You don’t always hear these kinds of “small town” stories from financial institutions, especially big-name national banks, where much of the work is automated and computers often decide whether to approve a loan. It’s different with ESL, where a team member looks at every single application. Mike builds relationships with his customers, and he wants to help them with everything he can.

Even better, Mike still sometimes hears from customers he met during his years as a branch teller—and just like back then, they share positive feedback with him about their own Owners’ Dividends.

“Now I’m the person who reminds my friends and families to check their Owners’ Dividend payout on the day!” Mike says.

He believes the ESL Owners’ Dividend is another way the organization is engrained in the Greater Rochester community.

“We’re so local,” he says.

“Everything we do is here. Our members are here. We give back to our community. And with the Owners’ Dividend, we’re giving back. I think being part of a company that’s doing this—and seeing the benefits that it provides to our area—it makes me feel good,” Mike said.

But for many ESL members, it isn’t only about the payout itself, Mike says. His sister went to her branch on Owners’ Dividend day and walked in on a celebration with free cookies for customers. For her, it was about more than just the money.

Mike’s proud to work for a company that wants to better the community. And the Owners’ Dividend is just one example of ESL doing just that. Because ESL, he says, “is more than just a bank on the corner of Main Street.”

The individual Owners’ Dividend payout amounts ESL members receive are based on established Owners’ Dividend criteria. For more information about the criteria, please visit Qualification for the Owners’ Dividend is subject to eligibility requirements and payment of the Owners’ Dividend is not guaranteed.