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Security Service FCU Shares Success Story
Tuesday, September 9, 2014 6:55 AM

It’s a story that begins with three men, some loan sharks and an idea for something better. The year was 1956, and young officers and airmen were centered in the target of off-base loan sharks looking for an easy hit. With high-interest, short-term loans that were nearly impossible to afford on a military income, the airmen were spinning into debt. As pressure built to pay off the loans, troop members – who were in charge of tactical area intelligence in the U.S. Air Force Security Service Headquarters on Security Hill -- became a security risk.

Enter the idea of a cooperative.

Eight men, with $25 and a passionate vision, formed the United States Air Force Security Service FCU Union (now known as Security Service FCU). As its first year came to a close, the credit union boasted 467 members with total assets slightly over $20,000.

Fast forward to 2014.

Security Service FCU is Texas’ largest credit union and ranks in the top 10 nationally.  Through a number of acquisitions and mergers with other credit unions, the enterprise has expanded its field of membership to include more than 2,600 ways to join. Yet, even with its size, the credit union is focused on developing a personal connection with and delivering outstanding service combined with useful products to each and every one of its members in its quest to become America’s best credit union.

Though still very traditional, the credit union’s focus on longevity, sustainability, innovation and community has contributed to its growth as it has expanded to 70 locations in three states: Texas, Colorado and Utah.

“Security Service is designed and built for efficiency, accessibility and proximity to where our members live and work, maximizing member satisfaction and convenience,” says Jim Laffoon, president and chief executive officer for the credit union.

SSFCU was one of the first credit unions in the country to offer online banking and auto lending at the point of purchase.  A 24/7, award-winning member contact center yields a live person with every phone call who can help, regardless of the time of day or night, in English and Spanish. The credit union also has its own network of more than 100 ATMs and a co-op network of more than 30,000 throughout the country and more than 5,000 shared branching locations nationwide.

In the past year, SSFCU has grown 10.29 percent, boasting more than 900,000 members and $8 billion in assets.

In just one year – from March 2013 to March 2014 – SSFCU saw a…

  • 22.24 percent increase in real estate loans
  • 18.53 percent increase in unsecured loans
  • 7.05 percent increase in new vehicle loans
  • 15.46 increase in used vehicle loans

New products like the credit union’s power mortgage, power checking, power credit cards and upgraded mobile banking platforms have contributed significantly to this growth.

But ultimately, what sets this credit union apart is the human factor. “We believe in taking care of people…both inside our walls and outside in our communities,” says Laffoon.

Dedicated to this mission of people helping people, Laffoon has implemented a corporate-wide wellness program for employees and their families that emphasizes physical, mental and financial health. From that foundation, employees then reach out to their communities through thousands of hours of volunteering…from building playgrounds to teaching financial literacy classes.

“Security Service – supported by the soundness of its member-centric mission, dedication of its caring employees and wise counsel of its volunteer board of directors – has built a brand that is reputable, trustworthy and locally-focused,” says Laffoon.