CBS has numerous accounts of businesses Cullen has helped and home-loan seekers he's given the nod. The New York Times has also reported on the ways Cullen has reached out to members of the community -- like the time a homeowner couldn't pay her property taxes, so Cullen had his son buy the woman's house and let her stay there as a renter.
And while Wall Street banks have continued to rack up robust profits, even as the rest of the economy sags, the Bank of Cattaraugus is only clearing $23,000 a year in profits, according to CBS. As Cullen's daughter Colleen told a reporter, "Our goal is not to make a ton of money. It's to help the local people."
No matter what the health of the local economy might be, small banks like Cullen's often play a vital role in keeping local businesses going, especially since it's reportedly been difficult for the owners of those businesses to get the attention of larger banks.
As for Cullen and the secret of his success, it may simply be that the people of Cattaraugus appreciate his forbearance when it comes to the kind of complex financial instruments that helped bring down the economy in 2008.