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InFirst FCU Acquires CUFSC Location In Maryland From CO-OP Financial ServicesFor Immediate Release May 24, 2018
Contact: Bill Prichard, APR, Director, Public Relations
CO-OP Financial Services
800.782.9042, ext. 3450
Christine Sparks, Marketing Manager
InFirst Federal Credit Union
540.644.9515, ext. 1216
Branch In Marlow Heights, Maryland, to Remain Within CO-OP Shared Branch Network
Rancho Cucamonga, California, and Alexandria, Virginia – CO-OP Financial Services and InFirst Federal Credit Union are announcing a definitive agreement transferring ownership of a Credit Union Family Service Center (CUFSC) in Marlow Heights, Maryland, from CO-OP to the credit union.
“The team at InFirst Federal Credit Union is excited to open our first branch in Marlow Heights, Maryland,” said Marty Wye, President/CEO of InFirst FCU. “We are pleased that the current branch employees will join us in welcoming members to our newest shared branch outlet. InFirst FCU looks forward to serving credit union members, and their families, with financial services when and where they need them.”
“InFirst FCU is an experienced operator of shared branch outlets, and we are delighted to work with their team during this transition,” said Jim Hanisch, President, CO-OP Network. “The CUFSC Marlow Heights staff will become InFirst FCU employees when the location opens as an InFirst FCU shared branch location.”
The Marlow Heights outlet is the last CO-OP owned location in the CO-OP Shared Branch network. Earlier this month, CO-OP announced that seven branches in the Detroit, Michigan, area were purchased by Public Service Credit Union of Romulus, Michigan. Two additional branches in that area will close in late June, with staff transferring to Public Service CU along with the employees of the other seven branches.
“Owning branches is not a strategic imperative for CO-OP, but all the branches sold this month are wonderful fits for the purchasing credit unions,” said Hanisch. “Finding the most efficient way to operate shared branching is part of our commitment to growing the CO-OP Shared Branch network.”
CO-OP Shared Branch comprises 5,700 branches throughout the United States with 1,800 credit unions participating. Shared branching is a concept unique to the credit union industry, enabling members of participating credit unions to enter any branch in the network and conduct their business as if they were in their own home branch.
About InFirst Federal Credit Union
InFirst Federal Credit Union, headquartered in Alexandria, Virginia, is a member-owned cooperative, providing financial solutions to many active and retired federal employees and their families, as well as anyone who lives, works, worships or attends school in King George, Virginia. Originally chartered in 1935, InFirst FCU serves more than 11,000 members nationwide and has assets of approximately $170 million.
About CO-OP Financial Services
CO-OP Financial Services is a payments and financial technology company whose mission is ensuring the success of the credit union movement. CO-OP payments solutions, engagement services and strategic counsel help credit unions optimize member experiences to consistently provide seamless, personalized multi-channel offerings, while delivering secure, sophisticated fraud mitigation service. For more information, visit www.co-opfs.org.
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Ranked 1: InFirst FCU
Location: Alexandria, Va.
Assets: $170 million
Overall Rank: 3
Asset Category Rank: 1
Reasons Employees Like To Work Here:
· Member First Committee encourages new ideas from employees to be submitted to HR. Many ideas are implemented and awarded.
· Employees have job shadowing opportunities so they can understand the full operations of the credit union.
· FitBit Wellness Program for staff competitions.
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How Better Health Insurance Ensured Low Staff TurnoverInFirst Federal Credit Union’s employee turnover rate was just 3 percent in 2017. This low metric was achieved, in part, by fielding concerns of its 48 employees, including an uneasy course correction regarding health care insurance.
“Approximately 18 months ago we switched health insurance carriers and it was a big mistake,” explained CEO Martha Wye. “Our employees quickly found that the out-of-pocket expenses increased disproportionately and that the coverage was terrible. We listened to their feedback and recognized that this employee ‘benefit’ negatively impacted the morale of those who had healthcare coverage through the credit union.”
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Government Workers Idled by Shutdown Turn to Emergency LoansWASHINGTON—Tens of thousands of workers affected by the government shutdown have applied for emergency loans and requested delays in mortgage payments, as many of them on Friday missed their first paycheck.
Financial institutions—including banks, credit unions, mortgage companies and online lenders—are taking steps to help some 800,000 workers affected by the partial government closure, which entered its fourth week Friday.
Some businesses are offering no-interest loans with no credit checks and are allowing customers to skip or delay loan payments without penalty. Others are waiving fees for account overdrafts and early withdrawals from certificates of deposit.
Federal and state financial regulators in a Friday joint statement encouraged financial institutions to work with affected customers, who may face “temporary hardship in making payments on debts such as mortgages, student loans, car loans, business loans or credit cards.” The statement was signed by the Federal Reserve, Consumer Financial Protection Bureau and other agencies.
Credit unions that have a large number of government-employed customers have seen a significant response to their loan offers.
Navy Federal Credit Union on Friday said it has enrolled 11,000 members in a program to provide no-interest loans for up to $6,000, and deposited payments in accounts for more than 1,000 people who missed their paychecks Friday. The credit union, which focuses on the military and has more than 100,000 members affected by the shutdown, is expected to make such payments to an additional 9,500 customers on Monday, when the employees of the Coast Guard face their payday with no payments, said Mike Rudin, a spokesman.
Among the people receiving such a payment is Karysa Warren, whose husband, James, is a Coast Guard employee. “While we do have small savings, we would be in a very dire situation if not for their support,” said the Bremerton, Wash., resident. “As long as this shutdown threatens to last, and with two young children, having them cover a portion of my husband’s paycheck when the government won’t is beyond appreciated.”
Funding for about a quarter of the federal government ended on Dec. 21, shutting down agencies such as the departments of Treasury, State, Housing and Urban Development, and Homeland Security, which includes the Coast Guard.
Bank and credit union executives said customers have requested payment delays or permission to skip a bill for mortgages and other loans.
“I hate to say it, but mortgage is a bigger problem with this particular shutdown,” said Martha Wye, chief executive for InFirst Federal Credit Union, which also has offered emergency programs during past government shutdowns. “This furlough has created more concerns about what’s going to happen if this continued for months.”
InFirst, based in Alexandria, Va., has 12,000 members, many of whom are current government employees at agencies such as the Federal Communications Commission and the Securities and Exchange Commission. The credit union has reached out to all members with a government email address, and has made “skip-a-pay” arrangements with roughly 100 mortgage borrowers. It expects to provide emergency loans to many of the roughly 2,000 customers affected by the shutdown, Ms. Wye said.
In addition to dozens of credit unions offering generous relief packages, large and small banks are offering programs for affected customers.
Alpine Bank, with 40 branches in Colorado, has set aside $5 million to cover an emergency loan program in which affected government employees can take out a no-interest loan with no repayment requirements for 60 days, said chief retail officer Glen Davis.
Sandy Spring Bank, a Maryland-based community bank with 55 branches in the Washington area, started offering programs on Wednesday to allow customers to delay or skip repayments of mortgage and home equity loans. It is also offering personal loans at the prime lending rate of 5.5%, below the typical rate of 14% to 15%, and allowing customers to withdraw from certificates of deposit without penalties.
So far, the bank has made loan-repayments adjustments for dozens of customers, said Jay O’Brien, executive vice president at the bank. “If this lasts longer after today, we are anticipating quite a demand.”
Large banks such as & Co. and Wells Fargo & Co. are also offering hardship programs for affected workers, including waiving of overdraft and monthly service fees, and adjustments to loan repayment schedules. And lenders such as Freedom Mortgage Corp. and Goldman Sachs Group Inc.’s online banking arm, Marcus, are also offering loan modifications to existing customers.
Corrections & Amplifications Navy Federal Credit Union has over 100,000 members affected by the government shutdown. An earlier version of this article cited that number as its total membership. (Jan. 12)
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