Ultimate Guide to Westside Federal Credit Union: Is It Worth Banking There?
Westside Federal Credit Union (WFCU) is a community credit union serving outlying small towns around Rochester, NY.
It’s full name is Westside Community Federal Credit Union. It has set a new record for the smallest financial institution we’ve ever looked at or reviewed, with less than 2,000 members and assets of approximately $22M! It was started in 1962, so it has been around for quite some time.
Information about this tiny credit union is tough to come by, but below we consolidate and synthesize what is available.
Westside Federal Credit Union Executive Summary
- We won’t be signing up for this tiny institution of just 2,000 members
- While their loan rates are roughly in line with the market, their deposit products are quite bad, their technology stack is woefully behind the times, and we could not find publicly available annual or audit reports to asses the stability of the institution. These are all massive red flags for us, so we’ll be looking for basic banking services elsewhere
Westside Federal Credit Union is a micro-institution, serving a small semi-rural upstate NY locality near Rochester
This tiny credit union serves the communities of Chili, Churchville, Ogden, Riga, and Sweden. Notably, this includes Spencerport and Brockport. For those not familiar with the area these are all very small towns just outside of Rochester, NY. It’s not completely clear, but the name “Westside” seems to allude to the fact that these are the main outlying towns on the west side of Rochester.
WFCU only offers the most basic banking services. Namely a savings and checking account and auto, personal, home equity, and boat/RV loans. Notably missing is a credit card product, which we still tend to see even in small banks/credit unions – often with a low APR.
While their website lists a mortgage as another product, it’s really just a link to a partner who offers mortgages, we assume they likely just have a deal with that partner and get a referral fee.
Membership requirements are strict and total membership has been falling slightly in recent years
Unlike many other credit unions which have been loosening their membership requirements to increase their number of members, WFCU has retained a strict membership policy. Only residents of the small collection of communities they serve are eligible. Again those communities are:
- Chili, NY
- Churchville, NY
- Ogden, NY
- Riga, NY
- Sweden, NY
There are a couple of strange exceptions to the above requirement, that likely doesn’t apply to very many people at all. For example, if your spouse died within the boundaries of the above communities, but you no longer live there, you are still eligible. Another notable exception is if you are an immediate family member of someone who is eligible.
These strict requirements seem to be resulting in falling membership, over the last 3 years membership has declined from 1,919 to 1,876, according to reporting filed with the National Credit Union Association.
While WFCU’s website claims signing up is as easy as filling out an application form and submitting a $5 deposit, it wasn’t obvious to us where that application form is located, what information is required, or where and how to submit it.
They offer a very limited set of financial products, even for a small credit union
Note that the below only describes personal accounts, there are no business services/products offered
On the deposits side
We only see one type of savings account and one type of checking account offered. The savings account rate is dismal, approximately 8x lower than what you can easily get in the market at the time we checked.
While the checking account looked to have normal functions, we were disappointed at the fee schedule, which seemed to charge for things that are usually free, like you’re first set of physical checks. Fortunately, they do not have an account minimum or charge monthly maintenance fees.
On the lending side
Westside Federal Credit Union only offers very basic loan types, they don’t even offer a mortgage (although their website links to a company that does). They do offer personal loans, HELOC, vehicle loans (auto, RV, boat), and debt consolidation loans. When we checked, their rates looked roughly in line with what other credit unions are offering at this time. It was hard to tell because WFCU only listed the “as low as” rate for each loan type, with no additional information about the range of how much higher they might charge depending on their assessment of the loan and your creditworthiness. But, from a quick analysis, we didn’t see a major opportunity here to get a great rate better than what you might find at most other credit unions and banks at this time.
Customer reviews are very strong, but that is based on extremely limited data
When we were able to find customer reviews, they were very strong. However, we were able to find fewer than 10 reviews to base this assessment on.
It does not appear that Westside Community Credit Union is registered with the Better Business Bureau.
While they offer online banking, it only has very basic functionality
West Federal’s online banking platform looks quite dated. While you can accomplish basic tasks like checking an account balance or paying a bill, you can’t do much more than that.
In fact, it doesn’t even look like you can start a new loan application or send a wire online! Yikes!
This outdated technology stack does not give us confidence that our money would be safe and secure and that they are up to date on all the latest technology security standards.
They do not offer a mobile app
This makes them extremely far behind the times, technology-wise.
They are insured with the NCUA and submit regular reports
They do maintain insurance of up to $250K per individual account with the National Credit Union Administration (NCUA). They also submit regular reports to the same and you can read these more detailed reports on NCUA’s website if you would like.
Westside Federal’s charter number is 15324, which can help you find the relevant reports on NCUA’s website faster.
Frequently Asked Questions
Where can I log in to my account?
- Navigate to Westside Federal Credit Union’s homepage. Scroll down while looking on the left side and click on “Online Banking Login”
Who owns Westside Federal Credit Union?
- It is a private company and is owned by its rough 2K members
Who can join Westside Federal Credit Union?
- Residents of these 5 small communities just outside Rochester, NY: Chili, Churchville, Ogden, Riga and Sweden. There are some limited exceptions, see our membership section for additional details.
How can I contact Kimberly Clark Credit Union?
- You can try calling (585) 293-3840
- They have one physical location at 125 East Buffalo Street Churchville, NY 14428
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Meet the Author:
John has always been fascinated by money, wealth, and investing. He got a front row seat into how Ultra High Net Worth individuals, families, and entities manage their money while working for years in Goldman Sachs’ Private Bank.
He learned a great deal about personal finance and wealth management from some of the most experienced professionals in the industry.
Now he enjoys helping all kinds of people grow their wealth and achieve their financial goals.
When he’s not advising clients, Cody enjoys playing golf and spending time with family and friends.