HONOLULU -- With its newly granted trade, industry and profession charter, Aloha Airlines Federal Credit Union is on a mission to become the premier financial services provider to Hawaii's airline industry.
In early July, NCUA gave the $30 million credit union the green light to expand its field of membership, according to the NCUA July 2008 Insurance Report of Activity issued on Aug. 25. The new charter expands Aloha Airlines FCU service on the Hawaiian islands to not only airline employees, government employees who work directly in the administration, regulation or security of airlines, airports or air transportation but also to periphery divisions.
Airport employees who work directly with air transportation of freight, air courier services, airport and air transportation support and services are now eligible for membership. Janitorial services, airport baggage handling, aircraft cleaning, maintenance and repair services and runway maintenance services and on-board airline food services are also included in the new membership pool. The TIP charter does not extend to employees of retail shops, restaurants, travel agencies, hotels or car rental companies, even if located at an airport, according to NCUA.
Doug Mashino, a spokesperson with Aloha Airlines FCU, said NCUA's approval of the TIP charter came roughly 30 days after the financial institution submitted its application and 95-page justification on June 6.
"We realize this approval turnaround time is unprecedented, and we implored the NCUA to act expeditiously on our request because of the sudden loss of our majority sponsor, and in returning an approval quickly, we were pleased with and appreciative of the NCUA's efforts and of its understanding of our situation," Mashino said.
Aloha Airlines FCU is currently undergoing changes to its brand following the bankruptcy and shutdown of Aloha Airlines, its sponsor for 56 years. The carrier was forced to close shop in March citing cutthroat competition and rising fuel costs. As a result, nearly 1,000 members of the credit union's 4,595-member base lost their jobs. Pacific Air Cargo's purchase of Aloha Airlines' contract services division and Aeko Kula's acquisition of the defunct carrier's cargo operation have recently opened up membership opportunities. Aloha Airlines FCU said it will continue its 21-year alliance with Island Air, once a division of Aloha Airlines.
While there is a presence of national TIP air industry credit unions in Hawaii, there is not one based in Hawaii that could serve the specific needs of the state's air industry, Mashino said. As evident by Aloha Airlines' collapse, Hawaii's economy is critically dependent on air transportation and the local professionals who are part of that industry. In fact, Aloha and its successor company's air cargo and freight operations transports 85% of Hawaii's non-barge freight, he added.
"In that significance, the credit union saw [an] opportunity and chose to focus on the industry that we've been a part of for 56 years, only now in a broader scope. Further, the credit union felt it was important to not only focus on the industry locally, but the local people who are all involved in the industry and be able to speak to their needs as fellow 'kamaaina' [which is the] Hawaiian word for local resident," Mashino explained.
Aloha Airlines FCU discussed the possibility of a community charter but chose to focus on its nearly 60-year alliance with Hawaii's air transportation industry. To that end, the credit union is in the middle of developing a broader marketing plan to spread the word of its newfound field of membership. Those marketing efforts, which will also include a possible introduction of a new name and brand, are scheduled to begin in the fourth quarter, Mashino said. Aloha Airlines FCU is also planning to add new services such as bill payment and expand its network of branches. In June, the AccessCard Visa debit card made its debut along with a new mailing address.
Meanwhile, the credit union continues to extend assistance to those members who have been impacted by Aloha Airlines' shutdown. Mashino said many have found jobs within the air transportation industry while others have moved on to completely different fields of work.
"While it's true a few employees left the state or the country to find work to continue flying, many have now been hired by other local airlines or are doing other things with other air industry enterprises," Mashino said. "Our expanded FOM charter now enables us to serve other air industry professionals."