Ross Prossner, president and CEO of Beacon Federal Bancorp, has been with the company through three name changes and as many changes in the services it offers.
Prossner has led the financial institution for 34 years. He holds a degree in finance and business administration from Syracuse University. After graduation, he worked for Lincoln Bank for five years, where he was a manager trainee and then became its commercial lending officer.
"Then the opportunity to take over the manager's job at Carrier Credit Union presented itself, and I was ready to move on ... I've been with this organization ever since," Prossner said.
When Prossner took over as manager of Carrier Federal Credit Union in 1976, it was a $4 million-asset credit union. In 1978, United Technologies took over Carrier Corp. Shortly thereafter, Carrier Federal Credit Union became Beacon Federal Credit Union.
"Around 1982, we changed our name and became a more generic credit union. We adopted the Beacon name so we could start offering our services to other employee groups," Prossner explained.
"... as the credit union moved along, we continued to grow, up until 1999. We then decided that to continue to grow ... the way to best grow the organization would be to switch the charter from a credit union to a mutual-savings association," recalls Prossner.
"In 1999, we asked our members if we could make that change and they agreed with us. We gave up being tax-exempt, but we also gained the ability to do commercial loans and other kinds of mortgage loans for our members and our customers that we couldn't do as a credit union and continue to grow," he says.
Prossner describes a credit union as a mutually organized institution. It is a tax-exempt cooperative institution. Beacon stayed in the mutual form, but became a tax-paying mutual by becoming a mutual savings bank.