> by TONY FARINA
The best way to learn a job may still be from the ground up, and the new CEO of the Buffalo Metropolitan Federal Credit Union is a perfect example of that process, starting as a teller in 1994 and rising to the position of chief executive officer last Nov. 1, leading a full-service financial institution with 16,500 members and $95 million in assets.
Jeanne Stadler once worked as a bus girl and waitress at Hoak’s Restaurant in Hamburg but the young woman from the hamlet of Lakeview is now the CEO of the eighth largest credit union in Buffalo and she is very excited and honored to be picking up the reins of her predecessor and mentor, Patricia Edinger, who retired last fall.
The still-new CEO took time out this week to sit still long enough for an interview in her second-floor office of the credit union, located at 62 S. Elmwood Ave., in the shadow of Buffalo City Hall. A little nervous at first, Stadler soon warmed up as she talked about the new management team she heads and the responsibility she feels for serving the needs of every single member.
She had written down a few quotes, perhaps to be sure she could deliver her message in one of her first interviews since taking over as CEO, and one in particular shows her admiration for her predecessor who had served as chief executive officer since 1997.
“I want to continue my predecessor Patricia Edinger’s vision, which was for the Buffalo Metropolitan to be a pioneer in the financial services industry,” she wrote. That vision includes offering the latest technology to members, like mobile check deposit and e-signatures on loans.
Throughout the interview, Stadler kept coming back to the membership, emphasizing that by continuing to offer new products and services “we can make the lives of our members a little easier.” It is to that end that she is firmly committed, emphasizing again and again that her focus “is putting people first,” noting as an example that Buffalo Metropolitan offers its credit card holders the same rate on cash advances and purchases, a big advantage over pretty much every other financial institution that offers credit card services.
Stadler attended Frontier High School and has a bachelor’s degree in political science from Geneseo. She was thinking about law school before a visit to the credit union in 1994 ended up with her being offered a job as a teller, and she never looked back, serving most recently as chief operations officer before she was selected by the nine-member board of directors to assume the position of chief executive officer.
Among the services offered by the Buffalo Metropolitan FCU are free checking accounts, free online banking and mobile banking, and a network of 55,000 surcharge-free ATMs. While the credit union’s remodeled offices at S. Elmwood is the center of operations, there are affiliated shared branch locations throughout the area that can be used for most transactions.
The new management team includes Sarah Edinger (Patricia’s daughter), executive vice president; Steven Conlin, chief information officer; Angelina Incorvaia, marketing vice president; and Jane Piechcki, chief operations officer.
Buffalo Metropolitan has a string of firsts to its credit, including being one of the first credit unions in the region to offer chip cards. If Stadler has her way, the credit union she now leads will continue to be a pioneer in the financial services industry by offering the latest in the way of technology along with a dedication to making sure account holders, whether buying their first car or taking out a loan, receive the best possible care from the staff of 39 full time employees who work in the offices behind City Hall that house one of the area’s top full-service financial institutions for people who live, work, go to school, or worship in Erie County.