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MOON TOWNSHIP, Pa. – A 51-year relationship went through a major metamorphosis when US Airways Federal Credit Union recently changed its name to Clearview Federal Credit Union after receiving approval to expand to a community charter. NCUA granted the approval on Sept. 23. While executives emphasized that US Airways employees “have always been, and are expected to continue to be” an important part of the newly-named credit union’s interest, expanding its membership base was an inevitable move given the downturn in the airline industry since the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks. The new charter allows 2.7 million members in 10 Pennsylvania counties to join the newly-restructured $618 million credit union. It currently serves more than 80,000 members with nearly 27,000 members being employees of the beleaguered US Airways. The nations’ seventh largest carrier filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection on Sept. 12, the second time in two years. At press time, it announced plans to cut its executive payroll by 20%, reducing pay and benefits for 3,000 managers and eliminating positions. “Since 9/11, the entire airline industry has suffered a downturn,” said Joseph Cirelli, who retired as president/CEO of Clearview on Oct. 1 after more than 35 years at the credit union and four years at the helm. “US Airways, along with other airlines, has been downsizing, reducing the pool of new employees who are our primary source of new members. The charter change will now enable us to offer a wide range of financial services to individuals and companies throughout Western Pennsylvania.” Clearview FCU’s new President/CEO Mark Brennan said three new branches are scheduled to open by the end of 2006. As the fifth largest credit union in the state, some 25,000 members who are US Airways employees live in the 10-county area that Clearview will be serving. Talks to change the name and expand its charter came shortly after the 9/11 attacks, Brennan said. With the help of a consultant, Clearview came up with an extensive list of names, narrowed it down to four and then formed focus groups consisting of a diverse spectrum of members to help choose a new name should the credit union decide to go that route. “We kept consistently hearing how clear we were in our vision to help them (with their financial needs),” Brennan said. Members said the name also implied “a clear vision of its future goals and plans” and “an open, trusting relationship.” In December 2004, Clearview contracted with Atlanta-based Allen Carver & Associates, Inc. to put together the conversion application package for submission to NCUA, Cirelli said. Going forward, Brennan said Clearview will build up its member business services including the issuance of corporate cards. But in the interim, the emphasis will be on member retention. “There may be a few true US Airways people that are against the name change but our role is to reassure them that our relationship with them has not changed and they stand to benefit from the growth potential made possible by the change in charter,” Brennan said. On the day of the Sept. 24th news conference announcing the changes, new Clearview signage at the six branches were already up, the Web site had been completely revamped and employees were sporting attire with the new moniker. As members’ credit and debit cards expire, Clearview will issue new ones with the new name and logo. Clearview had considered converting to a trade, industry and profession (TIP) charter joining the likes of Wings Financial Federal Credit Union and American Airlines Financial Credit Union but decided against the move. TIP has expanded the membership of both credit unions to employees of the Federal Aviation Administration, Transportation Security Administration, airport staff and contracted employees. “The Pittsburgh (International) Airport is a world-class airport and it was US Airways’ primary (hub) providing 85% of operations but as the airline shrank, we saw that the airport’s supporting staff would be reduced,” Cirelli said. As for the reaction from US Airways on the name change, Cirelli said it was applauded all the way around. “We had a conference with US Airways at the end of August and they applauded us for the position we were taking,” Cirelli said. “They encouraged and reassured us that this would be a (good move).” Clearview was originally founded as Allegheny Airlines Federal Credit Union in 1953 by employees of the former Allegheny Airlines. In 1979, Allegheny changed its name to US Air and the credit union followed suit with USAir Federal Credit Union. In 1997, it became US Airways Federal Credit Union. Over the decades, Clearview grew through mergers and select employee groups. As Clearview begins a new chapter in its history, Brennan said their mission continues to be a significant one. “The credit union has had a good partnership with US Airways over the years,” Brennan said. “Our primary obligation is to our members.” [email protected]

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