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MERRIFIELD, Va. – This April marked the sixth anniversary of the launch of Navy Federal Financial Group and during that time, the subsidiary serving one of the world’s largest credit unions continues to build its repertoire to meet member needs. The division of $25 billion Navy Federal Credit Union is actually comprised of investments, insurance, trust services, mortgage settlements and now, its latest offering-Navy Federal Brokerage Services, which opened for business July 1. At the end of May, NFFG had $473 million in investment assets under management and $877 million in life insurance coverage enforced. The division also has 27,000 active accounts, 150 employees and is headed by Dennis Godfrey, president/CEO. Godfrey has guided NFFG since the division started and before then, he served as vice president of secondary marketing in Navy Federal’s mortgage department. There is no secret to NFFG’s success, just good people who make it work day in and day out, Godfrey said. “We have tremendous staff,” he said. “We have staff who’ve been here for 30 years and some that have just walked in the door. All of them are creative and energetic.” That energy has led to Navy Federal being one of only a few credit unions to have its own broker-dealer, which has the ability to serve in all 50 states. Godfrey said it will continue to use CUNA Brokerage Services for back office functions. Twenty-two registered representatives and seven platform representatives make up NFFG’s broker-dealer’s staff. NFFG has spent the last 60 days transferring accounts over from CUNA Brokerage. “When we started, we recognized we wanted to get into the [broker-dealer] business rather quickly,” Godfrey explained. “We really only wanted to serve our members. Sometimes, when you buy a broker-dealer, you have to bring in their existing clients.” This year also saw the investment program going from a managed account model to a dual-employee model so that reps are now employees under Navy Federal’s umbrella. Reps are located in some of the credit union’s larger services centers while credit union employees at smaller outlets receive platform rep training. Godfrey said the goal is to have a rep in all of Navy Federal’s service centers located in 22 states and the District of Columbia. The credit union is also coming up on its one-year anniversary alliance with MEMBERS Trust Co., CUNA Mutual’s national trust office. NFFG has $10 million in active trust accounts and several hundred accounts that have designated the subsidiary as its trustee upon death, the latter being especially important given the CU’s field of membership which consists of mainly Navy and Marine Corp personnel. Still, trust services have seen “moderate success,” Godfrey conceded. “We face the same things other credit unions face-dealing with the perception that trust services are just for the rich,” Godfrey said. “But it’s about what happens to their money and their families in the future. You want to make sure you have enough money for education or if you have a child with special needs.” Given Navy Federal’s military FOM, there are unique planning and insurance situations above what other credit unions would offer, Godfrey said. For instance, with its accidental death and disability insurance product, there’s a “narrowly defined war clause,” which has helped many servicemen and women. There’s less of an exclusion for war so NFFG can offer more assistance when there are police actions. NFFG is also able to offer lower-cost insurance deals through an alliance with the Navy Mutual Aid Association, Godfrey said. NFFG is sensitive to the sometimes inevitable aftermath that comes with those in the military serving in wartime, he emphasized. “A young widow with a family who has just received insurance papers, we will sit down and talk about goals and objectives and suggest they come back in about four to five months so that they have time to get settled,” Godfrey said. “In the mean time, we might advise putting money in a savings account or CD until they get their feet on better ground.” NFFG has also delved into one of the credit union industry’s newest offerings-longterm care insurance, which covers the expenses related to a prolonged illness. In the 11 months the insurance has been offered to members, Godfrey said it has proven to be very popular, in part, because it can offer rates better than government plans. While in demand from some members, offering such insurance “is very involved,” and there are “a lot of moving pieces.” Another insurance offering going over well is a discount auto program through Geico Insurance. Members can qualify for an 8% discount. NFFG is also in the process of signing contracts to offer homeowner’s insurance. “It’s taken us a long time to negotiate a contract on this because most companies want both home and car. We have such a great relationship with Geico,” Godfrey said. NFFG wanted to continue along that path with the auto insurance giant. Besides dedicated staff, Godfrey said integration has also been another key to NFFG’s success. Navy Federal’s employees “feel comfortable” recommending products and services offered by the subsidiary. More importantly, everything is backed with impeccable service, he pointed out. “It doesn’t do any good to sell a mutual fund to a member and then ignore them,” Godfrey said. “We’ve been offering a good product with a good price and great service. We may not always have the best price but we back it all with great service.” [email protected]

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