Sixty years of people helping people: reflecting on NavyArmy Community Credit Union’s rise to success
By: Ashley Smith
Since Jan. 28, 1955, NavyArmy Community Credit Union (formerly Naval Employees Corpus Christi Federal Credit Union) has experienced exponential growth, securing a position as one of the top 10 fastest-growing credit unions in the country. They took a credit union with closed membership and opened it up to a multitude of satisfied members. In 2003, it offered membership to anyone who lives, works, goes to school and/or worships in any of the six Coastal Bend counties it used to serve.
Most recently, in 2012, NavyArmy extended its culture of caring into the Rio Grande Valley (RGV) with branches in McAllen and Brownsville, adding two new counties to the service area. These moves garnered nearly 94,000 new members. After these expansions and name changes, the credit union became the NavyArmy we know and trust today.
So what defines a credit union? Credit unions are financial co-operatives owned by members. Upon opening and depositing money to a share (savings) account, the person becomes a member-owner – a shareholder. These deposits fund loans and generate interest, which turns into profit. In the spirit of a not-for-profit co-operative, the credit union gives dividends back to the member-owners. These dividends come in all different shapes and sizes: lower rates on loans, higher rates on deposits and even cash!
Credit unions are governed by boards of directors, but all member-owners have the right to voice their opinion on how the business is operated. Credit unions have evolved over time, conducting business in a way that maximizes member benefits.
Like that of other evolving institutions, a lot can change over a few years. With NavyArmy, a lot can change in just one month. Averaging 1,500 new members every month, the credit union stays vigilant for new and exciting challenges. NavyArmy shows all members the same dedication to excellence it’s had since the beginning when it catered to the military. This dedication is stronger than ever now that NavyArmy has taken to the RGV, an area sorely underserved by credit unions, and produced a long list of success stories by thinking creatively when it comes to loans.
Additionally, in October 2014, NavyArmy welcomed former members of County and Municipal Employees Credit Union (CMECU) after assuming CMECU assets. Building a steadfast reputation for partnering with members for their financial lives, employees of the credit union work diligently to meet the needs of every single new member.
Along with new members came new leadership. Sarah O’Brien became president/CEO in July 2013. O’Brien started her career with NavyArmy as VP/controller in 1987. With 27 years of experience under her belt, she has shown tremendous leadership during her first 18 months as president/CEO. Born in Texas, but raised in New Orleans, she earned a bachelor’s degree in business administration from the University of New Orleans. The mother of two enjoys Hooks games with her parents and shopping with her daughters in her spare time.
As a member-driven institution, NavyArmy understands that in order to be successful, it must instill an ethos of giving back both with its employees and with the community. In 2014 alone, employees volunteered more than 2,774 hours to organizations that benefit children’s health, education and welfare. These volunteer hours are supplemented with donations of over $350,000.
NavyArmy is proud to support Driscoll Children’s Hospital, March of Dimes, American Heart Association, Junior Achievement and many more. The credit union recognizes that without the support of members and the community, it wouldn’t be the success story it is today.
The community within NavyArmy is just as successful and supportive, providing sustainable jobs to 400 individuals and a culture of promoting from within. Many current managers began their careers as tellers or service representatives, and the top leadership team averages decades of experience in this industry. It’s easy to see that once you join the NavyArmy family, you’re investing in a lifetime of positive transactions and transitions.
With more than 1.4 million teller transactions this year (not counting online and mobile banking) and an expanding member base, this downhome credit union shows us that a culture of caring and a willingness to be creative goes a long way. This 60th anniversary is only the beginning for the tremendous potential of NavyArmy.
About NavyArmy Community Credit Union
NavyArmy Community Credit Union is a federally insured, state-chartered credit union with assets of $2.1 billion. Headquartered in Corpus Christi, Texas, NavyArmy provides quality products, customer service, a personable loan process and user-friendly online banking to both military and non-military members. Joining is simple! You can be a member if you live, work, go to school and/or worship in Aransas, Bee, Cameron, Hidalgo, Jim Wells, Kleberg, Nueces or San Patricio County.
Ashley Smith is the marketing director for NavyArmy Community Credit Union. For more information on NavyArmy, call 800-622-3631 or visit www.navyarmyccu.com.