WOODBRIDGE, Va. – Those proposed military base closings proposed last month by the U.S. Defense Department appear to have a silver lining for the $200 million Fort Belvoir Federal Credit Union here. Indeed, of all CUs impacted by the closings and troop realignments, Fort Belvoir acknowledges it is one of the luckier ones because it could gain thousands of new members. “It is a wonderful opportunity for us,” said Patricia Kimmell, president/CEO, “but we are not making any formal plans until BRAC has been accepted and approved, but we are watching the process and working with our garrison to ensure the credit union is ready to provide service.” Kimmell, whose CU has a membership of 24,000, was making reference to the Base Closure and Realignment Commission which is slated to act in September on the Defense Department recommendations calling for relocating 18,000 military and civilian personnel to the Army base. If the recommendations hold, CU officials said the volume of new member sign-ups could be a year or more away, The Defense Department has said that to save on costs it seeks to relocate a large number of its personnel from the Washington suburbs of Arlington and Alexandria where leased facilities have been employed to the Fort Belvoir base. Jacqueline R.C. Connor, vice president of marketing and business development, said a check of the BRAC report showed only one other base, Fort Bragg in North Carolina, is experiencing a similar realignment jump-by 12,000. Connor said the CU is “committed to our primary sponsor, Fort Belvoir, and works hard to provide convenient services to all those working on the installation and that includes adding branches, ATMs and additional services as requested.” The prospects for Fort Belvoir FCU come to light as nationally the BRAC recommendations, as expected, become embroiled in political wrangling as the 33 communities impacted by the closings galvanize state and federal lawmakers to reverse the changes. In a member alert, the Defense Credit Union Council urged impacted CUs to “be proactive and get involved” in the series of hearings because BRAC “is not history” yet. Still the Defense Department has done considerable advance work to produce the “right list,” said the DCUC, and thus it will be “more difficult” to win reversals compared to previous years when 10-15% of the original recommendations were changed. Already, BRAC in the face of Senate demands for more data on the reasons for its recommendations, has been forced to delay the first two public hearings in St. Louis and Salt Lake City originally scheduled for June 7. “If you are one of those 33 communities and have not fully engaged with your local leaders, do so, get involved and craft the defense,” wrote Roland A. Arteaga, president/CEO of DCUC. -

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