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By Jim Martin, Doug Oathout Erie Times-News staff bloggers
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Posted: April 24th, 2013
General Electric Federal Credit Union becomes Widget Financial

The new name of what was the General Electric Federal Credit includes both a nod to its old name and to Erie’s history of building things.

But more than anything, the new name, Widget Financial, is meant to make clear that the credit union isn’t restricted to employees of General Electric.

Gail Cook, chief executive of the credit union, which has six offices and assets of $260 million, said it was a common misperception that membership was open only to employees of General Electric.

That’s why the credit union has been making plans for nearly two years to introduce a new name, she said.
That plan was hastened earlier this year when a letter arrived from General Electric Co. headquarters in Connecticut.
Cook said the letter firmly directed the credit union to stop using the words General Electric in its name.

Credit union spokesman Trent Mason said the credit union was happy to adopt a new name that would reflect membership that is open to anyone who lives works, worships, volunteers or attends schools in Erie and Crawford counties.

Carl Palotas, the credit union’s chairman of the board, said, “Hundreds of names were evaluated with very in-depth criteria in order to find the best name that would pay tribute to our past and propel us into the future.”

But why Widget?

The credit union explained in a statement: “Widget Financial was selected for its tribute to GE Transportation (widGET) and to the Erie Region which certainly produces its share of “widgets.”

The credit union said the name also was chosen for its familiarity in a range of industries, including technology, manufacturing, education and health care.

—Jim Martin

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