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.