"Once a member, always a member," promises Navy Federal Credit Union (NFCU). This policy has helped NFCU become one of the nation's largest credit unions, claiming more than four million members who can retain their credit union privileges even after discharge from the armed services. Formed in 1933, NFCU provides a variety of financial services to all Department of Defense uniformed personnel, reservists, National Guard personnel, civilian employees, and contractors, as well as their families. The credit union has more than 220 branch locations in the US and overseas, many of them on or near military bases.
NFCU offers deposit accounts, home mortgages, credit cards, insurance, investments, brokerage and trust services, and a variety of personal loans. Its business services include insurance, retirement, and health benefits, and loans for equipment, leasehold improvements, commercial vehicles, investment property, and start-up companies.
NFCU, which previously served only Navy and Marine personnel, extended membership to all armed forces branches in 2008, including the Army and Air Force, as well as guard personnel, all Department of Defense civilian workers, and contractors on military installations. The move has brought in more than 250,000 new members. Anticipating the influx, NFCU has opened more than 80 branch offices since 2006, many of them near Army and Air Force installations.
The new locations, coupled with consumer loan growth driven by continued low home and auto loan rates, contributed to a nearly 15% increase in net income for NFCU in 2011, from some $569 million to nearly $650 million. Revenues rose a more modest 3%, from about $3.1 billion to more than $3.2 billion.
The credit union also expanded through its 2010 merger with San Diego-based USA Federal Credit Union, which added some 20 branches in Southern California and on military bases in Asia. – less