The $315 million credit union said the new moniker, which takes effect Jan. 4, 2010, ties in with the Hawthorne, Calif.-based cooperative's growth within the air transportation industry. Originally chartered in 1949 to serve the Federal Aviation Administration, FAA First was approved for a trade, industry or profession charter in 2004. The credit union serves 25,000 members.
"We are proud of our affiliation and long-term commitment to the FAA," said Eileen Rivera, president/CEO of FAA First. "This will not change. Our new name, SkyOne, continues to honor this legacy while further representing our members in all other areas of the air transportation industry, such as airport and airline employees, flight maintenance crews and airport security, to name a few."
Since FAA First's TIP charter, the credit union's membership growth has been nominal, Rivera told Credit Union Times in 2008. However, if it weren't for the expanded charter, FAA First's members that joined under that charter would not have been eligible prior to the new field of membership, Rivera said at the time.
A few years ago, the credit union, along with Alaska Airlines/Horizon Air Employees Federal Credit Union, was approached by Wings Financial Credit Union as possible merger candidates. Both cooperatives said they were not interested. The $2.2 billion Wings Financial would go on to launch a failed, unprecedented hostile takeover campaign against Continental Federal Credit Union.
Meanwhile, FAA First moved forward by building systems to support the majority of members who preferred online banking to branch visits. The credit union also looked at reaching out to businesses surrounding its branches in cities such as Los Angeles, Seattle and Chicago.
Member feedback was important in coming up with the SkyOne name, according to the credit union. In December 2008, FAA First conducted focus groups in several cities. SkyOne turned out to be the overwhelming favorite out of a nearly dozen different name and logo options.
"SkyOne reflects the pride and unity of this industry working together, as one, to ensure that our skies are safe," said Astrid Rives, chief marketing officer at FAA First.