At $15.1 billion asset Pentagon Federal Credit Union (PenFed), Alexandria, Va., members use a worldwide toll-free line to access its call center 18 hours a day, visit a shared branch, connect via iPad or mobile phone applications, correspond via e-mail, or take advantage of online financial education and services. All communication lines are free to overseas troops.
Chris Flynn, senior executive vice president of PenFed and president of its nonprofit affiliate PenFed Foundation, says active-duty military make up 36% of credit union members, with military family members accounting for another 18%. Technology is essential to connect with these far-flung members, including many U.S. members located in California, where PenFed doesn’t have any branches.
Military members who need a mortgage loan modification due to an involuntary hardship—such as deployment, death of a spouse, medical bills, or reduced income—can complete a “hardship application” on the credit union’s website. PenFed helps qualifying military members with measures such as payment deferrals, a loan to cover deficiency on a short sale, or consolidation of loans into one affordable payment.
Deb York, senior manager, service center and branch operations, says several Fort Hood branch employees are military spouses whose husbands have been deployed three to five times. These employees share their experiences so the credit union understands what military members need. The credit union stays in touch with Fort Hood members by supporting base activities, providing USO volunteers and other organizations, offering pre-deployment briefings, and holding financial education events.