Updated: Mar 7
Brought to you by the Defense Credit Union Council (DCUC)
Story by Len Likas
The Defense Credit Union Council (DCUC) represents 180 Department of Defense not-for-profit credit unions currently serving active and former military members and eligible civilian employees of the federal government. DCUC’s core mission is to champion these credit unions as the first and best choice for America’s armed service members and educate them on matters of financial literacy. Defense credit unions are wide-ranging and may be specialized to different localities and branches of the military, but they all offer financial products to meet almost any banking need, from checking and savings accounts to home mortgages and personal loans. Moreover, they typically offer their members better rates than what they’d find at competing commercial banks. However, money-saving is not all they have to offer. As you’ll soon see, these credit unions are proud to make a positive impact in their members’ lives through inspiring outreach programs in communities across the nation. Today we’re highlighting four unique organizations that exemplify the mission statement "Serving Those Who Serve "and show how they’re making a deep and meaningful impact in the lives of America’s armed service communities.
Serving the multi-branch personnel of nearby Joint Base Andrews, as well as Joint Base McGuire-Lakehurst-Dix and our military serving in Europe, AFCU is an innovator in understanding the importance of a firm foundation of financial literacy for our military members. Every military member knows one of the biggest obstacles to mission success is readiness. To build strong teams that are ready and capable of success, the members of those teams must be focused on doing their jobs. You don’t want your people distracted by lingering issues back home, like worrying about a late car payment, accidental overdraft, or any other common financial hardships Americans face. To help our military stay focused on the task at hand and ensure mission success, AFCU was the first to champion the new official “Armed Forces Financial Guide”.
This invaluable handbook covers all topics related to personal finance and goes a long way to delivering a solid education on money matters without the need for a teacher or classroom. Readers get solid advice on how to handle life’s inevitable financial challenges whenever and wherever they pop up. They’ll also gain newfound appreciation for the rewards that come from consistent, principled decision-making throughout their career, during and after their service, and into retirement. The guide is easy to use and understand and can benefit anyone no matter their experience. Best of all, it’s available free and can be downloaded in PDF format here.
PENFED is a prime example of how a defense credit union can be a good neighbor to our communities in times of need. Beyond the bond of family and the duty of service, we all have friends and neighbors who share our communities. Sometimes members of our communities are overlooked. The elderly in particular have special needs and don’t always have family to look out for them. In this challenging time, PENFED recognized the need to reach out to the elderly residents of our community right here in Alexandria, Virginia.
In a tremendous gesture of goodwill, representatives of PENFED came to the neighborhood Safeway grocery and surprised the seniors who came to shop that day by handing out $10,000 in gift cards. Imagine these seniors living on fixed incomes getting the chance to buy some extra staples for their cupboards or freezers, something to brighten their living spaces like a fresh bouquet, or some special treats for the grandkids for their next visit. This is the spirit of giving back.
As PENFED proudly shows, its mission as a community-focused credit union means lending a helping hand to those who need it most. They’re bringing people together right here in our own backyard in Alexandria, and you can’t put a price on that. For more information click here.
NFCU has something really unique and interesting going on right now and if you’re a hockey fan, you’re really going to love this. They’re sponsoring a program in collaboration with the NHL. It’s called NHL Stick Tap for Service, and if ever there was an inspiring story to tell about soldiers finding a new outlet to channel their energy in a healthy way, this is it.
It’s a troubling fact that our military members sometimes suffer psychological trauma and stress from their time in service. Life after active-duty in a combat environment can be extremely challenging for the best of us – and losing bonds of camaraderie and absence of interaction with peers can mark the beginning of a downward spiral. One former soldier found an answer. After losing three friends and fellow veterans to suicide, Bobby Colliton of
Burlington, Massachusetts looked to the game he knew and loved from childhood. “The only escape I could find was through hockey,” said Colliton. He began looking for like-minded veterans and found them. Soon the Skate for the 22 Foundation was formed-- a new hockey league and mentorship program just for veterans. Colliton’s group now boasts more than 400 members across three New England states. He’s just one of four inspiring finalists who were recently announced in this annual contest that truly embodies the spirit of giving, mentorship, sacrifice and service. To learn more about the winners, please click here.
SDFCU is building bridges with a new program called Diversity and Inclusion Project, run by the Filene Research Institute. Drawing inspiration from National Credit Union Administration Chairman Rodney Hood – who called out the lack of people of color in leadership positions – SDFCU is one of several credit unions jointly sponsoring this ground-breaking five-year research project. The Project seeks to establish best practices with respect to promoting a more diverse and inclusive environment throughout the financial services sector. To learn more click here.
Over 25 million armed forces personnel are already enjoying the many benefits that come from membership in a defense credit union. Join one today and affirm your part in a grand tapestry of interconnectedness.