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ORANGE COUNTY, Calif. – As part of its long term strategic business plan, Patriots FCU announced an operating agreement to transfer its two on-base facilities – at Marine Corps Air Station Miramar, Calif. and Marine Corps Air Station Yuma, Arizona – and the Uptown Yuma branch office to Navy Federal Credit Union. The two credit unions will conduct “dual operations” in all three facilities from early December through Dec. 31, then operations will transfer fully to NFCU starting Jan. 1, 2004. The strategic decision to transfer the leases was approved by the board of directors of each credit union, the Commands at Miramar and Yuma, and the Department of the Navy. Jeff Herter, president/CEO, Patriots FCU stressed that the initiative “is a transfer of facilities only.” The accounts of Patriots FCU members will not be transferred to Navy FCU, and all existing accounts and loans will be retained by Patriots FCU. However, all military and civilian personnel working at MCAS Yuma and MCAS Miramar are eligible to join Navy FCU and have the option to do so. Navy FCU’s field-of-membership includes mostly military and civilian personnel of the Navy and Marine Corps and their families. The credit union has $19.9 billion in assets and more than 2.2 million members. Patriots FCU personnel employed at the three branch facilities will be retained by Navy FCU. Herter emphasized that Patriots FCU members will be able to continue to conduct their personal financial business with the credit union using Patriots’ On-Line (www.mylcu.com), Home Banking, Bill Pay, Call Center, ATM and Check Cards, Credit Union Service Center locations nationwide, and U.S. Mail. They will also continue to have access to the same free ATM network. “Patriots FCU will continue to serve our members while developing innovative ways to electronically meet our members’ needs,” he said, adding that the $118-million credit union plans to open new branch offices in Orange County, Calif. during 2004 and after that as well. Navy FCU spokesperson Loren Moeller said that since 2000, three other credit unions have facilitated similar transfers to NFCU – @Lantec Financial FCU (formerly Atlantic Fleet FCU) and Great Lakes CU, both in December 2000, and the Brunswick, Me.-branch of Government Employees CU in Feb. 2003 – and those transfers were also prompted by the respective CU’s expansion to a community charter “If a credit union is expanding to serve an entire community, having a branch on a base that the rest of the community doesn’t necessarily have easy access to doesn’t serve the credit union’s strategy of having a community charter,” Moeller explained. In Patriots FCU’s case, explained Herter, the credit union intends to concentrate on expanding its membership and services in Orange County, although he emphasized that “we still plan on servicing our existing members, including those outside of Orange County and California.” But he noted that San Diego County where Mirimar is located has a high concentration of credit unions, making it one of the most highly competitive counties for credit unions in the U.S. The same is true, he said, with Yuma, Ariz. – although that city is small and there aren’t that many credit unions, there are a good number of banks, and that creates a very competitive environment, said Herter. “Patriots FCU determined it couldn’t serve these three geographic areas from a brick and mortar physical branch,” he said. “Patriots FCU members will remain our members, but now with the transfer of the leases to Navy FCU, they’ll have a brick and mortar facility to go to if they want,” he added. -

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