VACAVILLE, Calif. – Navy FCU said this morning it is opening its 33rd California branch here next week to serve 23,000 military personnel at Travis Air Force Base, as membership booms at the nation’s largest credit union.

The new branch will be the fifth opened this year and the 40th over the past three years, fueling an accelerated member enlistment for the $51.6 billion credit union. The credit union giant has reported 305,000 new members already in 2012, up from 230,000 for all of 2011, giving it almost 4.2 members at the end of the third quarter.

Navy Federal now operates 225 branches worldwide.

What's helping drive the strong membership surge is Navy Federal’s focusing on its field of membership and a national advertising campaign, including broadcasts of Monday Night Football, to let enlisted men and women know the special deals they can get at the credit union that they likely can't get anywhere else, according to Nancy DeDona, the credit union’s vice president of membership.

"We have products and services geared to our membership," DeDona told the Credit Union Journal. "We have a complete active duty checking account that is free to the enlisted person if they are on active duty or retired. They get ATM rebates. We have special loans for active duty first-time homebuyers. It's tough for anyone to beat these offers and our job this year has been to make more members aware of what we offer."

The members coming in are engaged, said DeDona, saying that the credit union has seen its average services per member number increase this year. She would not, however, share what the figure is. Another sign that the new members are profitable, noted DeDona, is that the credit union’s loan-to-share ratio is now 90%.




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