banks, the Bank of Cattaraugus remains
profitable and staunchly independent,
turning down repeated purchase offers.
people fly into Buffalo once to travel
down here to offer to buy us, but they
couldn't find us, they got lost."
lost in a world where people know their
neighbors, and a handshake and a prom-
ise are sometimes more telling than a line
on a credit score.
bank's people-before-profits philosophy.
The bank made only $5,000 in 2011, and
over the past 40 years its annual net profit
has been about $23,000.
"It's wonderful," said Cullen. "We were
want to gouge people."
put that money back into the communi-
has the same reply: "Where is it written
that we have to grow? We stay home, we
do a good job, and Cattaraugus is a won-
derful community to live in. In fact, I can't
imagine a more ideal little town."
Cattaraugus and manages the local
Setterstix Corp. plant, a lollipop
million paper sucker sticks every day,
including those on every Dum Dum sucker
handed out at the bank.
me," said Pritchard. When he recently
refinanced a loan, he knew where he
would get a fair deal.
tion," said Pritchard. "Most weeks I'm
stopping in the bank for one thing or
another and quite often I see Pat out in
office crunching numbers. And he's out in
the community so most everybody knows
national news outlets:
on a Saturday morning, picked up a cou-
ple of cashier's checks, then accompanied
the homeowner to the county foreclosure
auction to back his bid, later setting up a
payment plan the couple could afford.
check needed immediate cash to replace
a tire rim on her car. With no credit card
and no savings, she went to the bank and
got a $300 loan.
feared she would lose her home. Cullen
arranged for one of his three sons,
Thomas Cullen of Chicago, to buy the
house so the sisters could stay on as
"the nicest banker in America"; and the
kind of stories that bank examiners shake
their heads over.
the bank earned in interest. Bank examin-
ers wondered why the bank didn't just tell
the woman to apply for a credit card. It's
a no-brainer, they said.
tire (right away)."
ment company in Chicago.
see what's going on with everyone and
then make the connections to make
everyone thrive," said the younger Cullen,
a member of St. Bonaventure's National
Alumni Association Board. "My dad runs
a business in a completely different way
than a lot of people would. He wants to
make sure people are happy and that
everybody wins, and he certainly believes
there's a way to do that."
use the numerical credit score, but we
pretty much make secured loans," said
Cullen. On the other hand, he watched
his own father cement deals with a hand-
shake and he won't believe the business
world has become so stilted that one's
word doesn't still mean something.
in a small town were only rein-
forced by his Bonaventure educa-
the fall of 1966 I stopped in the chapel in
Devereux Hall (now Garret Theater)," said
Cullen. "Fr. Gervase White was saying
Mass, and he gave about a 20-second ser-
mon that I'll never forget. It turned me
right around. He essentially said that
above all else, no matter what, be posi-
tive, helpful, supportive, a good person,
and you'll always be happy."
Franciscan spirit on campus. "You can't
look at The Heart across the valley or walk
been a family affair. Patrick
Cullen took over from his father,
L. Edgar Cullen (above), and
works alongside his wife, Joan
(from left), and daughter,