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PORTSMOUTH, N.H. – After nearly 50 years of being chartered to serve the Pease Air Force Base and seven years after being approved for a community charter, Service Credit Union has expanded its field-of-membership to include all U.S. military and civilian employees of the Department of Defense worldwide. The $875 million SCU applied for the FOM expansion with the New Hampshire State Banking Commission in March. The application was approved the end of May and was effective immediately. SCU VP of Member Services Ray Springsteen estimates that the credit union’s expanded FOM includes approximately four million people in the military and civilian Department of Defense, 75% of whom are located in the U.S. The Commission’s decision provides SCU membership to nearly five million people throughout the world. Membership to Service CU will include U.S. civilian employees and standby, and inactive and active duty military personnel of the Department of Defense located worldwide. This includes the Army, Air Force, Navy, Coast Guard, Marine Corp, Air National Guard, Army National Guard, Reserves, as well as civilian and military retirees and family members. In addition, SCU’s FOM includes nine of 10 counties in New Hampshire including Rockingham, Hillsborough, Cheshire, Stratford, Belknap, Sullivan, Merrimack, Grafton, and Carroll counties. It does not include Coos County. Two-thirds of SCU’s more than 86,000 members are military. It began serving the military in Germany in 1968. “Considering the changing military footprint in Europe with U.S. military bases, our field-of-membership expansion insures we’re successfully serving all members,” said Springsteen. “With this in mind and keeping in mind the ramifications of BRAC (base realignment and closure) and the closing of some U.S. bases that’s expected, expanding our field-of-membership is something Service Credit Union has been considering doing for about a year.” Springsteen added that Service Credit Union has had a lot of experience serving the military remotely, and a lot of the CU’s products were developed just for military members, “so this field-of-membership expansion just made sense.” Among some of the military-specialized products and services Service CU offers are: * 35 basis points off consumer loans if the military member has direct deposit with Service CU. That’s a 10 bp higher discount than other SCU members are eligible for; * for military members who are deployed, SCU gives them 75 bp off closed end consumer loan, primarily auto and motorcycle; * Service CU’s “Star Program” helps military members save. A CD product, for example, requires a minimum $250 deposit instead of the usual $1,000. Terms on the CD are for 6 months to five years. The program also gives military members a 75 bp better rate than civilian members on a six-month CD. The Star Program also gives military members higher rates on deposits. A military member, for example with $2,500 on deposit gets an APY of 1.9, which Springsteen said is 1% higher than civilian members get. * Service CU offers education sessions on financial management on U.S. military bases in Germany. In filing its FOM expansion application with the state’s Banking Commission and making its case on why it should be approved, Springsteen described these various military member-specific services the CU provides and illustrated Service CU’s ability to serve an expanded FOM that’s going to be very remote. Also as part of its application package, the credit union provided a worst case scenario in case BRAC does occur and U.S. military based in Germany are closed. “The big part of our application package was our focus on serving the military for the last almost 50 years and our ability to serve them remotely,” said Springsteen. Service CU has 23 branches and owns 25 ATMs. As a member of the Financial Service Center Coop members also have access to an additional 1,400 shared branches, and by belonging to the COOP and SUM ATM network, members can use 1,800 ATMs surcharge free. Service CU also provides members with Internet banking and bill pay and presentment at no cost. Faced with a growing membership, SCU plans to put its biggest investment into expanding its call center operations so it’s able to successfully serve members remotely. The credit union has two call centers – one in Rochester, N.H. and another overseas in southwest Germany about one hour south of Frankfurt that’s open 24/7. SCU plans to expand the hours of its Rochester call center and then implement technology so that any calls placed into the Rochester call center after hours will automatically and seamlessly be transferred to the CU’s call center in Germany. The objective, said Springsteen, is that no matter what time of day a member calls into the CU’s call center, someone will be there to take the call. Since Service CU recently upgraded its Internet banking system, Springsteen said it didn’t plan on making additional changes in the wake of the FOM expansion. The upgrade gave members the ability to apply for loans over the Internet and allow non-members to apply for membership over the Internet. SCU is currently working with providers to implement a funds transfer product. Service CU also provides members with remote training seminars over the Internet on topics such as effectively managing taxes, real estate, and using an Internet banking system. “We realize a high concentration of our members aren’t located around branches, so this is a way to interact with them,” said Springsteen, who noted that these sessions typically pull 50-100 participants depending on the subject. “It’s another way for us to be creative to maintain communications with our remote members,” he said. Asked if Service CU’s expanded FOM will put it in a tougher competitive position with other defense CUs, Springsteen said, “Realistically we all know the numbers about what’s happening with the banks with things like mergers. Only about 10% of consumers’ insured deposits are currently with credit unions. By expanding our field-of-membership, we’re just giving consumers more opportunity to get cost effective services from a credit union.” -

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