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Credit union manager to retire after 28 years

Photos by Tom Rivers: Nancy Zielonko, left, has been manager of the Cobblestone Country Federal Credit Union for 28 years. She is retiring on Dec. 31 and will be succeeded by Chris Ranallo, right, the current assistant manager.

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 17 December 2019 at 3:26 pm

Nancy Zielonko led Cobblestone Country Federal Credit Union through expansion

ALBION – The manager of the Cobblestone Country Federal Credit Union is retiring on Dec. 31 after 28 years of the leading the credit union during a time of significant growth and upgrades.

Nancy Zielonko said she has enjoyed a career with a dedicated group of employees, who have helped many residents obtain loans and improve their credit scores.

The credit union has grown its assets and shares from $2 million in 1991, when Zielonko started, to $12 million now. The credit union was out of garage on Liberty Street when she started. It moved to a house next to COVA on South Main Street and about five years ago purchased its own building, a former medical office at the corner of Route 31 and Hamilton Street. That site has high visibility in the community, Zielonko said.

“It has really been my privilege to take something small and create a viable entity that will last in the community,” she said Monday at the credit union, 299 West Ave. “We have created a viable place that really helps people.”

The credit union started in 1965 as the Liptons Federal Credit Union. It then changed its name to the Central Orleans Credit Union. About 15 years ago it became the Cobblestone Country Federal Credit Union.

The not-for-profit organization at that time expanded its service area from the central Orleans County towns to all of Orleans – “anyone who lives, works or worships in Orleans County,” Zielonko said.

Nancy Zielonko said she has been blessed to work with a core group of dedicated employees. These four have all worked together for at least the past 20 years. From left include Nancy Zielonko, manager for 28 years; Chris Ranallo, current assistant manager who will become manager, employee since 1999; Audrey Christopher, head of customer service since 1993; and Teresa Radka, loan officer since 1995.

The financial institution is federally regulated and loans money, and has checking and savings accounts, and other banking services. Because it’s not-for-profit, it doesn’t charge its customers with higher fees, Zielonko said.

While banks have merged and consolidated, often closing offices in smaller towns, Zielonko said Cobblestone Country has grown and solidified its commitment to the county.

The credit union provides loans, from a few hundred dollars, up to a $100,000 home equity project. It doesn’t do mortgages as the originator, but can do other financing.

The local credit union also has its own checking accounts, live banking where deposits are immediately put into accounts, direct deposit and other services.

Chris Ranallo started as an accountant in 1999 at the credit union. She has been the assistant manager and will become the manager after Zielonko retires.

“She is very dedicated and loyal and gets excited about serving everyone and getting them help,” Zielonko said about the new manager.

Zielonko said Ranallo has been a big part of the team at the credit union. She is one of four employees at Cobblestone Country with at least 20 years of service. Audrey Christopher, head of customer service, has worked there 26 years and Teresa Radka has been a loan officer for 24 years.

Zielonko said the dedicated employees and a board of directors have all backed the efforts to add programs at the credit union.

“Here, you’re not just a number or a credit score or a risk score,” she said.

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