VIENNA, Va. and TAMPA, Fla. – Members of Navy Federal Credit Union will now have access to trust services through a partnership with MEMBERS Trust Co., the industry’s only nationally-chartered trust firm owned by credit unions. The agreement allows for estate management and trust services to be provided through Navy Federal Financial Group (NFFG), the wholly-owned CUSO of the $20 billion Navy Federal. NFFG currently uses MEMBERS Trust’ parent company CUNA Mutual Group for brokerage services and several insurance products for its 2.3 million members from 26 locations nationwide. Rather than align with more established trust operations or banks, Navy Federal chose MEMBERS Trust to retain control over its relationships with its members and keep the assets within the credit union system, said Dennis Godfrey, president of NFFG. “We don’t have to send members shopping for ways to protect and distribute their wealth,” Godfrey said. “They can remain with their credit union, knowing that we continue to offer the best solutions for their lifetime financial needs.” Launched in November 2003 by CUNA Mutual and Suncoast Schools FCU, MEMBERS Trust has 15 credit union partnerships through its agency office option, which requires a trust officer to be physically located in a credit union and its representative office option, which utilizes the services of specially trained representatives to consult and make recommendations for trust services. NFFG opted for two agency offices – one located at its headquarters here and another in San Diego. Godfrey said they are in the process of hiring trust officers to serve members in the Washington D.C. and Norfolk, Va. areas as well as in Florida. With a trust officer already hired for San Diego, that office is scheduled to open for business April 1. Over the next year, NFFG is aiming to expand trust services to other areas of major member concentration. Being the world’s largest credit union, Navy Federal’s alliance with MEMBERS Trust speaks volumes to the type of support the trust company has garnered from the industry, said Tom Walker, president/CEO of MEMBERS Trust. “Navy Federal Financial Group’s decision to choose MEMBERS Trust is indicative of the kind of reception we’ve gotten from other leading credit unions,” Walker said. “Already, more than a dozen credit unions have signed contracts with us, and many more are seeking program proposals.” As for the $1 million in assets trust institutions typically require an individual to have to receive service, Godfrey said NFFG’s focus will include all members, regardless of asset size. “No one will be turned away,” Godfrey said. “For those members who are concerned about providing for their families in the event something happens to them, we will provide fiduciary services that will assure their wishes are fulfilled. For those that banks have chosen to ignore, we will provide asset management services at a reasonable fee. For those with high net worth, or significant assets to be managed, we will provide the expertise and service that they expect.” Given that flexibility and the nature of trust services, which require the building of relationships over time, Godfrey said sowing the seeds for long-term relationships will impact profitability through broader alliances with members. “Trust services is one of those core products that attract members, and will cause members to deposit more money at the credit union, use our investment services and to rely on the credit union as their primary financial institution,” he said. MEMBERS Trust officially opened its doors for business Nov. 3, following an Oct. 28 organizational meeting, where incorporation papers were signed and a board of directors elected. The meeting followed regulatory approval by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. in mid-October. In June, the federal Office of Thrift Supervision granted charter approval for the trust firm to do business in all 50 states. Meanwhile, shares of ownership are now being offered for purchase by credit unions and credit union entities, Walker said. [email protected]

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