Thank you for sharing!

Your article was successfully shared with the contacts you provided.

ARLINGTON, Va. – With U.S. forces beginning to take casualties or be captured in the war against Saddam Hussein’s regime in Iraq, credit union responses to the ongoing war situation have varied while they have tried to remain supportive overall. “The truth is, right at this time, we don’t yet know what our members are doing for their members who might be in the thick of this,” said Roland “Arty” Arteaga, CEO of the 281 member Defense Credit Union Council, based in Washington, D.C. Arteaga explained that when the war got underway the organization surveyed its members to determine how many of them might have members in combat and what they might be doing to help their members’ families and loved ones while the war was on. “We haven’t gotten back responses to the survey yet,” Arteaga reported. He declined to predict precisely what credit unions might do for their members in combat, pointing out that shifting fields of membership had seen a steadily growing number of his members moving to a community based FOM, rather than one based on military membership alone. He did predict, however, that whatever the credit unions did they would probably do in close conjunction with their military commands. That emphasis has certainly been the case with the $416 million Fort Bliss Federal Credit Union, based in El Paso and serving Fort Bliss and the surrounding community. At least five service members were captured from the 507th maintenance company, based in Fort Bliss, by Iraqi forces after their unit made a wrong turn and accidentally moved away from other U.S. forces. Kelly Cooke, CEO of the credit union, said that as of press time it was not clear whether any of the credit unions’ members were or were not among the captured. However he also noted that due to security and privacy concerns, he would not have reported if any credit union member had been. If any members were among the captured, Cooke said, the credit union would probably take its cue for how to help the captured member and their family from the base’s leadership, emphasizing that in each stage of this war effort the institution had tried to focus on helping the base meet its preparation and deployment goals. “We have had our people working nights and weekends,” Cooke said, “to be able to meet with members who were active duty or deploying reserves when they needed us.” He said that the services the credit union had provided were generally deployment related (such as power of attorney, etc.), but that the credit union would seek to extend the same degree of member service to any family members of soldiers who might have been captured, disabled or possibly killed. We have to look at situations on a case-by-case basis, Cooke said, pointing out that with so many reserve members called into active duty it could be difficult to craft a policy that is going to serve everyone’s needs. “The member who might be a single mother with a child here who needs money for daycare or other expenses will have different needs from the spouse of a member who might have several kids,” he noted. Loren Moeller, spokesperson for the $17 billion Navy Federal Credit Union, based in Merrifield, Virginia acknowledged that with its penetration into the Marine Corps, there was a chance that some of the Marines on the war’s front lines were Navy Federal members. Like Fort Bliss, Moeller said Navy Federal would work with members’ families on a case-by-case basis, and added that member service would be the hallmark of that interaction with the captured or wounded member’s family. Moeller said the credit union would take its cue on how to help from the member’s branch of the service, pointing out that the credit union’s involvement might be limited to coordinating support with the member’s branch of the service, which would support a wounded member and their family. Navy Federal does offer its members, at no charge, loan insurance that will pay a member’s consumer loans from the credit union up to a maximum of $10,000 in the case of the member’s death. The credit union also offers its members, at no charge, insurance that will pay members’ survivors a percentage of the share balances up to $2,000. The credit union also dedicates a portion of its staff to work on what it calls “decedent accounts.” Decedent account staff members work with the family members of any deceased Navy Federal member, whether or not they died on active duty, to settle their affairs with the credit union and make sure that the family gets whatever insurance and other benefits they might be due, Moeller said. The situation for NCUA employees who might be called to active duty is a bit different. NCUA employees being called to active duty face a collection of different regulations and programs, according to the agency. According to Cliff Northup, director of the agency’s Office of Public and Congressional Affairs, the agency has about 12 employees who are eligible to be called up for active duty, but the agency could not report by press time an exact number of those who had been called up, he said. Those who were called to active duty faced a number of different regulations. For example, NCUA employees who are called to active duty will not be paid by the NCUA while on duty past the 15 days military leave the employee is eligible to take, the agency said. The employee is able to request his or her annual leave for the year be advanced to cover the time they are on active duty, and that can extend the time the agency pays them. Functionally, that means that most NCUA employees called to active duty face a de facto pay cut for their service past a given period of time. NCUA employees being called to military duty can keep their federal health benefits, in addition to their military health benefits, for up to 18 months and NCUA does not make the employee pay their portion of the benefits’ cost, the agency said. The NCUA employee on active duty also retains their life insurance benefits, but the life insurance benefits will not be paid if the employee is killed in combat, the agency said. [email protected]

Complete your profile to continue reading and get FREE access to CUTimes.com, part of your ALM digital membership.

Your access to unlimited CUTimes.com content isn’t changing.
Once you are an ALM digital member, you’ll receive:

  • Critical CUTimes.com information including comprehensive product and service provider listings via the Marketplace Directory, CU Careers, resources from industry leaders, webcasts, and breaking news, analysis and more with our informative Newsletters.
  • Exclusive discounts on ALM and CU Times events.
  • Access to other award-winning ALM websites including Law.com and GlobeSt.com.

Already have an account?


Credit Union Times

Join Credit Union Times

Don’t miss crucial strategic and tactical information necessary to run your institution and better serve your members. Join Credit Union Times now!

  • Free unlimited access to Credit Union Times' trusted and independent team of experts for extensive industry news, conference coverage, people features, statistical analysis, and regulation and technology updates.
  • Exclusive discounts on ALM and Credit Union Times events.
  • Access to other award-winning ALM websites including TreasuryandRisk.com and Law.com.

Already have an account? Sign In Now
Join Credit Union Times
Live Chat

Copyright © 2022 ALM Media Properties, LLC. All Rights Reserved.