After Taking Flight, NASA FCU Adopts to Lean Times
In 1949, seven employees at the National Advisory Council for Aeronautics formed a credit union. The agency was destined to become the National Aeronautics and Space Administration in 1958, on the cusp of a time period when the space race with the Soviet Union was to end with a man on the moon.
NASA has seen budgets grow and shrink, personnel hired and laid off, and its efforts sometimes viewed as awe-inspiring, other times as a yawner. Through the decades, the credit union, now known as NASA Federal Credit Union, has kept pace with member needs.
In announcing the program, President/CEO Doug Allman explained, “We developed EarlyAccess as an innovative way to provide NASA Federal members greater control of, and access to, their money during these challenging economic times. One day or more can make a big difference to those on tight budgets and facing financial challenges.”
In July 2011, NASA Federal took another step to help members cope with the shifting economy. With the threat of a government debt default and delayed federal government payments, the credit union announced a short-term loan program. If government paychecks were delayed, members could apply for a Paycheck and Furlough Relief Loan. The offer was extended to cover members depending on government payments such as Social Security. Fortunately, at the last minute Congress avoided the crisis.
Allman said business lending has been growing, backed by a strong commercial real estate market. Overall, Allman indicated the impact of federal belt-tightening in Washington has been relatively modest on NASA employees in that area, putting them in a better position than residents of other localities.
Even so, with a wary eye on the economy, members have been seeking investment advice through NASA Federal. Pension plans and retirement expectations are challenged, resulting in what Allman describes as “very good growth” in the credit union’s investment services.
Immediately prior to that, he was chief financial officer at Department of Justice FCU. With two children, 11 and 17 years old, and membership on a list of boards that includes Co-Op Financial Services, the Credit Union Mortgage Association, Allman’s spare time is pretty much spent on family activities.
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