At Financial Ease, Soldier

Credit unions can provide encouragement and financial support for active duty, retired, and disabled military servicemen.

 
Bailey Reutzel

 

There’s no debate: military servicemen have tough jobs, especially with today’s War on Terror in the Middle East. Some are on the front line amid gunfire while others are grappling with mental and emotional stress from their service days.

Memorial Day, a day the U.S. officially celebrates its troops, is an ideal time to look at how many credit unions have taken a supportive role in helping servicemen, both while active and when they retire.

Northwest Federal Credit Union Foundation manages Northwest Federal Credit Union’s ($2.2B, Herndon, VA) charitable and financial literacy programs. The foundation created an Adopt-A-Soldier program in 2010 and won an award that year for community service. The program provided soldiers with care packages of snacks, entertainment items, and other goods.

It blossomed from a short-term project providing words of encouragement from back home to long-term connection of online relationships between employees of Northwest FCU and servicemen overseas. Northwest employees still have relationships with the soldiers, although the program officially ran for only one year. Northwest now helps Homes For Our Troops, which provides and modifies housing for disabled military veterans. through financial donations.

Belvoir Credit Union ($296.6M, Woodbridge, VA) also tends to active duty military personnel through a program other credit unions can emulate.

In February, Belvoir CU supported the Military Saves campaign by offering active duty military a special 10% APY certificate. The Military Saves program encourages military families to build long-term wealth through debt reduction and savings. In support of this program Belvoir gave more than 24 servicemen and women the high-earning certificate hoping the military families use the certificate to improve their financial health.

More recently, Belvoir CU partnered with The Armed Forces Financial Network to provide a $3,000 donation for wounded, injured, or ill servicemen and their families. Belvoir donated the money to CAUSE, Comfort for America’s Uniformed Services, massage and reiki program at Fort Belvoir.

Like both Belvoir CU and Northwest FCU, Andrews Federal Credit Union ($886.5M, Suitland, MD) helps active duty military members, but also focuses some of its resources on retired military. A section of the credit union’s website focuses on retired military, giving them advice on starting their civilian careers. The credit union offers tips for job search, other employment choices, financing higher education, and moving to a new location.

And outside the credit union industry, VeteranOwnedBusiness.com, is a comprehensive directory of businesses owned by active duty servicemen, retired servicemen, and reservists. The website offers people the ability to search for products and services that are made, sold, or serviced by U.S. military members. This directory, which would be a great resource for credit unions to share with members, is helpful for military retirees wanting to find a civilian job in their area working with other military servicemen.

 
 

May 28, 2012


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