Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Firefighters First Credit Union Announces Conversion to Federal TIP Charter

Los Angeles, CA – April 25, 2017 –, Firefighters First Credit Union (Firefighters First) announced that it has received regulatory and member approvals to convert to a federal Trade, Industry and Professional (TIP) charter serving the fire community, effective April 18, 2017. This is the next step in its evolution to better serve its fire family members.

The move from a California state charter to a federal TIP charter enables Firefighters First to serve the financial needs of its 3,500 members who have moved outside the state, as well as members who decide to move, retire, start a business or buy a home anywhere in the country. This strategic decision also provides Firefighters First with the ability to offer products and services to new fire partners, focusing on areas that may not have a local fire credit union in their community.

“As part of our commitment to our members, we are continually looking for new and better ways to support our fire families. The Firefighters First Board and leadership spent many years developing a long-term strategic plan designed to bring our members more value from their credit union and ensure we continue to thrive as a strong, sustainable organization solely dedicated to serving our fire family for many future generations,” said Firefighters First Board Chair L. Scott Gribbons. “This charter change is an important milestone in allowing us to better serve our current members wherever they live and work today, while also maintaining a healthy organization that can actively support the mutual interests of our firefighter credit union community for many years to come.”

Firefighters First Credit Union President/CEO Dixie Abramian commented, “Our first priority in moving to this new charter is serving our existing members across the country with the personal service, technologies, and outstanding rates that our fire families expect from their credit union. Beyond current members, a federal charter provides the ability to look at where it makes the most sense to offer membership in new communities. We will carefully explore these opportunities in a very controlled, measured way to ensure we best serve our members, leverage economy of scale benefits, and consider where we can add value through new partnerships. While we are taking the first step in this process, we know that, as we look at new communities to serve, we will focus on areas that do not have a local firefighter credit union, such as Arizona.”

In conjunction with its conversion to a federal credit union charter, Firefighters First will now offer federal deposit insurance through the National Credit Union Share Insurance Fund to its members, ensuring their funds are protected by the full faith and credit of the U.S. Government. We approached then Chairman Rick Metsger a few months ago to finalize our charter application. We really appreciate his interest and for accepting our invitation to come and help us celebrate this new chapter for the credit union. Thanks to the coordinated effort from Tim Oppelt and the STYSKAL, WIESE & MELCHIONE, LLP team, Firefighters First received approval from the National Credit Union Administration to convert from a California state charter to a federal TIP charter serving the fire community and received approval to be chartered for the purpose of making business loans, followed by approval by a majority vote of its membership on March 31, 2017.

About Firefighters First Credit Union
Firefighters First Credit Union was formed in 1935 as Los Angeles Firemen’s Credit Union and served firefighters throughout the state of California. In 2017 they received their federal charter and now serve the Fire Protection Industry and their families.  Firefighters First currently has assets of over $1.1 Billion and serves over 37,000 members in over 330 fire departments nationwide. Specific details on eligibility, and more information about the credit union, are available at firefightersfirstcu.org or by calling 800.231.1626.


Firefighters First CU CEO Dixie Abramian and Board Chair L. Scott Gribbons accept their new federal charter from NCUA Board Member Rick Metsger.

The National Council of Firefighter Credit Unions awarded retiring CEO, Mike Mastro of Firefighters First Credit Union their Lifetime Achievement Award.

Retiring CEO, Mike Mastro of Firefighters First Credit Union was awarded NCOFCU's  Lifetime Achievement Award, by 1st Vice President Jerry Horwedel, at his retirement dinner..

Mike was acknowledge for his outstanding service to firefighter credit unions as well as his overwhelming support as a founding member of the National Council of Firefighter Credit Unions. (NCOFCU)

National Volunteer Week

WASHINGTON—It’s National Volunteer Week, and NAFCU President and CEO Dan Berger, who is speaking at our Charlotte conference, is reaching out to credit unions and their volunteers in recognition of the event, which began Sunday and runs through Saturday.

This year is the 43rd anniversary of National Volunteer Week, established to celebrate volunteerism and recognize its contributions to communities and economic growth.

“In celebration of National Volunteer Week, I want to recognize the volunteers who are committed to the success of your credit union and your members,” Berger said in his message to credit union leaders. “They inspire by example so that others are motivated to serve and are the foundation of the credit union cooperative spirit.”

To those who volunteer within the credit union industry, Berger said, “I wish to personally thank you for your invaluable service to your community as a volunteer at your credit union. Your contributions are essential to credit unions' success in bringing financial services to the people who need it most, and your dedication is inspiring.”

Monday, April 17, 2017

Your Next Great Leader

Since we are always looking for that next great leader, or you would like to improve yourself, I thought I would share this Blog with you.

by Nick Davis, Davis Associates

Promoting from within is a great move for any business. On top of the fact that it is normally the most cost-effective option, it also results in motivated employees. When people know they can realistically advance within a company, they are more inclined to work harder and remain with the organization longer. Employees who know they have no scope for advancement are likely to look elsewhere for opportunities that will allow them to test their limits.

With this in mind, leadership development should be a serious consideration for any modern business. Your company needs to be providing training and executive coaching for those individuals who will one day be leading your business. It all starts with identification, which can be difficult in and of itself. Great leaders are not always immediately identifiable. They might appear introverted, or even somewhat uncertain of their abilities. Conversely, top performers and ones who at first glance appear a logical pick for a leadership position may not have it in them to effectively lead a team.

Promoting the wrong candidate to a leadership position can cost a company time and money. 
To save yourself this stress and expense, you should keep an eye out for the following red flags, which indicate you shouldn’t be saving them a place on your leadership development program.

They refuse to delegate responsibility
Enthusiasm and pride in your work are all well and good, but problems present themselves when an employee is simply unwilling to share their workload. Micromanagement and motivational leadership don’t mix well. Employees with real leadership potential will acknowledge they can’t do everything themselves, and they’ll be able to pinpoint the right co-worker to ask for help. Those who insist on taking control of every aspect of a particular project will overburden themselves. They will eventually suffer from burnout, and their colleagues will feel undervalued and mistrusted.

They aren’t able to take on board differing opinions
Leadership is a collaborative effort. The “it’s my way or the highway” attitude doesn’t do much to motivate innovation, independence or creativity. Employees who stubbornly refuse to take on board the opinions and feedback of their colleagues or supervisors will probably lack the flexibility required of an inspirational leader.

They focus on negatives
Optimists tend to make better leaders than pessimists. They are solution-focused, they aren’t risk averse, and they are great motivators. With this in mind, keep an eye out for employees who focus on weaknesses. It is much more favorable to demonstrate an awareness and appreciation of strength while making time to help co-workers improve upon their development needs. Employees with great leadership potential will be able to highlight areas for improvement without making the other party feel inferior. They also won’t constantly call attention to it, to make themselves feel superior.

They eagerly throw others under the bus
Terrible leaders possess a grandiose sense of self-worth and never admit when they are at fault. Visionary leaders take responsibility, and they actively protect and promote their team. How does your employee fare in a teamwork setting? Are they eager to point the finger, or are they keen to accept responsibility for team failures and move on to resolving the problem at hand? Not only is this mentality more conducive to quick problem-solving, but it also builds trust and causes others in the team to feel more secure, engaged, and loyal.

They’re a poor communicator
Effective communication is the most important quality for a leader to possess. Without the ability to communicate properly, not only will leaders fail to gain a full, comprehensive picture of workplace problems, they will also be unable to motivate others. Even under difficult circumstances, leaders need to be able to keep a level head. They need to communicate organizational aims and objectives, and they need to reassure those around them.

Great communicators know that communication isn’t just about talking. They need to be able to listen and take on board the thoughts, feelings, and ideas of others. If an employee spends hours on end closed off, away from their desk, or ignoring emails and telephone messages, this indicates that open dialogue is not a priority for them and they are unlikely to succeed as a leader.

Nick Davis is a Business Psychologist and Director at Davis Associates, a Surrey-based HR consultancy in the UK. Davis Associates works with companies of all sizes to inspire greater individual, Web: davisassociates.co.uk

Wednesday, April 5, 2017

New NCUA Videos Show How to Run Effective Credit Union Board Meetings

Are your credit union’s board meetings as effective as they could be?

The National Credit Union Administration today released its new video series, “Effective Board Meetings,” aimed at helping credit union directors make the best use of their meetings.

This four-part series features different examples of well-run and poorly run board meetings. It also provides helpful tips on how to run constructive meetings and create an environment that engages a credit union’s board members.

Tuesday, April 4, 2017

Inflation surpasses Fed's 2% More rate increases expected!

Consumer inflation – the Federal Reserve's preferred inflation index – exceeded its 2 percent target for the first time in nearly five years, according to Commerce Department data. NAFCU Chief Economist and Director of Research Curt Long said credit unions should be preparing for the next quarter-point rate hike, possibly in June.

"On paper, the Fed has achieved its goals of full employment and 2 percent inflation," Long said. "While there are some caveats – some slack surely remains in the labor market and core inflation remains below target – Fed officials appear eager to normalize rates. Credit unions should prepare for the next quarter-point rate hike as early as June, and for a total of two to three more increases this year."

In February, the personal consumption expenditure price index surpassed the Fed's target for a 2 percent annual gain, according to data released Friday.

The Wall Street Journal on Friday noted that this "is a healthy signal for the economy, showing excess capacity and high unemployment that long held inflation near historically low levels have finally abated."

Last month, the Federal Open Market Committee, the Federal Reserve's monetary policy setting arm, raised the federal funds target rate a quarter-point to a range of 0.75 to 1 percent – an anticipated move.

It was reported last week that most Fed officials expect to raise the federal funds target rate two more times this year, but some are anticipating even more increases – up to three, or according to Chicago Fed President Charles Evans, maybe even four. 

NAFCU April 3, 2017

Monday, April 3, 2017

NCOFCU Annual Meeting & Conference

Check out Charlotte, NC
2017 Annual Meeting and Conference.

October 4-7, 2017 Charlotte, NC         
“Great things happen when credit unions serving firefighters and first responders come together. Our Face-to-face interaction is the platform where collaboration begins, relationships are forged, and ideas are generated.”

Registration is now OPEN