Award Spotlight: Outstanding Volunteers

Several Recognition Awards will be presented to New York credit union professionals and volunteers during EXCEL 19, the New York Credit Union Association’s Annual Meeting & Convention. Today’s featured award is the Outstanding Volunteer Award, which recognizes volunteers who exemplify commitment to their credit unions and consistently embody the “people helping people” philosophy.

This year’s Outstanding Volunteers include: George DeLong, supervisory committee member at Compass FCU, and Tamara Denysenko, board member at Ukrainian FCU.

George DeLong has served as a volunteer at Compass FCU in one form or another for over 30 years. DeLong began his tenure with the credit union in 1989, when he served on the loan committee, and then committee chairman.

He was voted onto Compass FCU’s board of directors in 1997 and served as board president from 2006-2007 and from 2009-2011.

During his time on the board, DeLong focused on many member initiatives, such as member picnics, which helped drive member engagement and loyalty. He also dealt with much larger and more complex issues, like Bank Secrecy Act compliance; overseeing the pay and benefit package meetings; rate structures; and representing the credit union at exit meetings with auditors.

As chairman, DeLong oversaw a strategic merger with another local credit union, which led to the addition of new board members, a new office and new employees.

In 2016, as DeLong prepared for retirement, he stepped down from the board, but he still finds time to serve on Compass FCU’s supervisory committee.

Tamara Denysenko began her professional career with what was then known as the Rochester Ukrainian FCU as editor of the quarterly credit union magazine, “Credit Union Opinion.” She became well acquainted with credit union operations working as teller, loan officer and collections coordinator. In 1987 she was appointed general manager and later CEO of the credit union.

During her leadership, from 1987 to 2010, the credit union built and moved into a new main office; added multiple new common bond organizations; opened several new branches, including two on the West Coast; acquired two other credit unions in mergers; and implemented multiple new services, including a website, home banking, and credit and debit cards.

By 2010, the credit union grew to $137 million in assets with over 15,000 members across six branches in 4 different states.

After retiring from the CEO position in 2010, Denysenko has remained an active credit union volunteer, serving on the Ukrainian FCU board and as the president of the Ukrainian-American Community Foundation.

On the international level, Denysenko has served as a consultant to USAID and the World Council of Credit Unions since the early 1990s on an effort to help re-establish credit unions in Ukraine. Her current project under the WOCCU/USAID program is dedicated to youth financial education.


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