Top company by employee – 56 – Navy Federal Credit Union – Virginia US
Industry: Financial Services & Insurance – Banking/Credit Services
Previous rank: 95
2011 revenue ($ millions): $3,240
What makes it so great?
The world’s largest credit union hired 2,150 people last year, and about 75% of the workforce has a military affiliation.
|Headquarters||Vienna, Virginia, United States|
|Number of locations||223|
|Area served||Department of Defensepersonnel and their families|
|Key people||Cutler Dawson, President/CEO
VADM John A. Lockard,Chairman
|Products||Savings; checking; consumer loans; mortgages; credit cards;investments; online banking|
|Total assets||$50 Billion USD (2012)|
|Subsidiaries||Navy Federal Financial Group (CUSO)|
Navy Federal Credit Union (or Navy Federal) is a credit union headquartered in Vienna, Virginia, chartered and regulated under the authority of the National Credit Union Administration (NCUA) of the U.S. federal government. Navy Federal is the largest natural member (or retail) credit union in the world, both in asset size and in membership. As of September 2012, Navy Federal had over $50 billion USD in assets, and over 4 million members.
Navy Federal was originally incorporated on January 17, 1933 as the Navy Department Employees’ Credit Union of the District of Columbia (NDCU). Only Navy employees who were members of the Federal Employees’ Union were eligible to join. The next year, President Roosevelt signed into law the Federal Credit Union Act, which would eventually become the basis of business for the credit union. In 1947, the credit union was officially dissolved and rechartered as a federal credit union, named Navy Department Employees Federal Credit Union (NDEFCU). It also expanded membership to include all Navy personnel in the Washington, DC area, both military and civilian. It was not until 1951 that the day-to-day operations of the credit union were officially turned over to professional management; until that time, the members of the Board of Directors were personally involved in each major financial decision and loan approval that the credit union made.
In 1954, the credit union changed its charter again to open membership to Navy officers everywhere, regardless of geographic location, and changed its name to Navy Federal Credit Union. Eventually, membership was opened to enlisted personnel as well. By 1962, the credit union reached a milestone, becoming the biggest credit union in the world, a distinction which it still holds today. In 1977, the credit union moved into its current headquarters in Vienna, Virginia, eventually undergoing several major expansions of its facility there.
In 2003, the credit union opened its membership further, to include Navy contractors. There have also been several times in the credit union’s history that NCUA has asked Navy Federal to merge with or absorb other credit unions that were experiencing financial or other difficulties. Members of these prior credit unions remained members of Navy Federal after the merger (following NCUA’s policy of “once a member, always a member”). On September 22, 2010, Navy Federal Credit Union announced plans to absorb/merge with USA Fed, stating that joint operations would begin October 4, 2010 under the Navy Federal banner.
In May 2008, the Navy Federal Credit Union widened its membership to include the entire Department of Defense. Their field of membership includes all active duty, retired, and reserve Army, Navy, Marine Corps, and Air Force personnel, as well as civilian personnel within the Department of Defense. In March 2013, the Navy Federal Credit Union widened its membership to include all Coast Guard employees as well. 
Navy Federal’s field of membership is set by the National Credit Union Administration (NCUA). As with all credit unions, membership in Navy Federal is limited to individuals sharing the common bond defined in its credit union charter. Membership in Navy Federal is limited to:
- All Department of Defense (DoD) uniformed personnel — Army, Navy, Air Force and Marine Corps, retirees and annuitants
- All Department of Defense reservists — Army, Navy, Air Force and Marine Corps — regardless of drill status — retirees and annuitants
- All US Coast Guard uniformed personnel — regardless of drill status — civilian employees, retirees and annuitants
- All Army and Air National Guard personnel — regardless of drill status — civilian employees, retirees and annuitants
- All DoD Officer Candidate programs: midshipmen and cadets at the United States Naval Academy, United States Military Academy, United States Air Force Academy, United States Coast Guard Academy and the United States Merchant Marine Academy; personnel in Officer Candidate programs
- All DoD civilian employees
- U.S. government employees assigned to DoD installations
- DoD contractors assigned to U.S. government installations
- Employees of Navy Federal
- Family members, including grandparents, parents, spouses, siblings, grandchildren, children (including adopted, foster and stepchildren) and household members
Navy Federal is chartered with NCUA as a single-sponsor credit union, with its sponsor being the Department of Defense. Like all credit unions, Navy Federal is governed by a board of volunteers, elected by and from its membership. Navy Federal also has a separate subsidiary, named Navy Federal Financial Group, which operates as a Credit Union Service Organization (CUSO). CUSOs were established by NCUA as a way for credit unions to pursue product offerings that would normally be outside of the purview of a credit union.
As of October 2012, the credit union had over 10,000 employees world-wide. Navy Federal, founded in 1933, has never had a layoff, choosing instead to move employees to other departments to avoid layoffs. It was ranked number 78 on the 2008 Fortune’s 100 Best Companies to Work For list, which is produced by the Great Place to Work Institute. In 2012 they were 95th and in 2013 they rose to 56th on that same list.
Navy Federal offers the typical suite of account services offered by most financial institutions, including savings accounts, checking accounts, IRA accounts, and certificates. The savings product is named “Share Savings” to reflect the fact that a member’s initial savings deposit ($5.00) literally represents their share of ownership in the credit union. Navy Federal also offers members consumer loans, credit cards, mortgages and home equity lines of credit, as well as some small business services. Navy Federal’s CUSO, Navy Federal Financial Group, offers more extensive investment services, online brokerage services, and insurance.
As of October 2012, Navy Federal has 223 branches and over 450 ATMs, located both inside the United States and abroad. Navy Federal offers extensive online services via its corporate website, Navy Federal Online. In addition, members can make ATM transactions through the 28,000 CO-OP Network locations at other credit unions and 7-Elevenstores in the U.S. and Canada without any surcharge fees.
Due to the nature of its membership (which includes actively deployed military personnel in every time zone), Navy Federal maintains 24-by-7 operations in its three call centers located in Vienna and Winchester, Virginia, and in Pensacola, Florida (its largest call center), as well as round-the-clock online services.
Navy Federal is not the only financial services company which specializes in serving parts of the military. The credit union competes with other military credit unions, like Pentagon Federal Credit Union and NavyArmy Federal Credit Union (which only serves parts of Texas), as well as with some large banks including Bank Of America-Military Bank and USAA.