In an industry where so many financial institutions are trying to provide the same services in order to stay competitive, it is important that they also stand out in their communities. Jim Bedinger, COO of Chicago Patrolmen’s Credit Union and CEO of National Police Credit Union, shares how he’s working towards reaching a targeted audience and community – police members and their families.
In a few sentences could you please tell us a bit more about National Police Credit Union?
National Police Credit Union (NPCU) is a marketing division of Chicago Patrolmen’s Federal Credit Union (CPFCU) and has been serving the needs of police officers and their families since 1938. It is an online marketing portal through which any Fraternal Order of Police member and their immediate families may join. CPFCU exclusively served the Chicago Police Department until 2011, when it began expanding to other police departments in the Chicagoland area and the State of Illinois, with the most recent addition being the National Fraternal Order of Police in 2014.
How does National Police Credit Union work to help serve the financial needs of Fraternal Order of Police members?
Our mission is to serve the financial needs of police officers and their families and to help them realize their life goals. We are a full service financial institution that offers a full array of products and educational services to our members. The NPCU marketing division helps to bring those products and services to a broader police audience like the Fraternal Order of Police. NPCU is the sole institution to partner with the Fraternal Order of Police to specifically provide auto loans to FOP members.
Why did Chicago Patrolmen’s Federal Credit Union see a need to create the National Police Credit Union?
The NPCU was established to avoid confusion as to who can join the credit union. Many Fraternal Order of Police members who see Chicago Patrolmen’s Federal Credit Union’s name in print may automatically assume it is just for Chicago Police Officers or that only law enforcement in the Chicagoland area is eligible. NPCU also conveys, via its name, a broader reach in scope and area. It provides police credit union membership to Fraternal Order of Police members and their families located anywhere in the United States, especially those FOP members who currently do not have access to a police credit union.
Have you found that police officers and their families have needs that differ from the general community? If so, what are some examples?
Police officers and their family members share many of the same needs that all American families face. However, police like to have products and services that are tailored to them. We offer a uniform loan to help pay for officers’ equipment and uniforms. CPFCU also offers police-themed debit and credit cards, like our Copper Card, which is a credit card that offers 1% cash back on purchases. These cards also benefit individual state and local FOP Lodges and help them to save money. Our credit card rewards program will allow CPFCU to set up “local” charities where members can use their rewards points to make a tax deductible donation to the police charity of their choice. One example is the Chicago Police Memorial Foundation, which benefits Chicago Police Officers and their families.
How has NPCU helped connect Chicago Patrolmen’s Federal Credit Union to the police officer community?
While Chicago Patrolmen’s Federal Credit Union has always been connected to the local police community, NPCU is an avenue for CPFCU to connect with and offer the benefits of police credit union membership to a nationwide police audience. CPFCU has tailored some of its offerings, like adding online loan and membership applications, e-documents and expanded Call Center hours to serve all Fraternal Order of Police members nationally.
What feedback have you received from police officers and their families in the community?
We have always been a big supporter of the police community through heavy involvement with the various police officer personal and professional organizations, police-related events, fund raisers and charitable causes. We are the founding sponsor of the Chicago Police Memorial Foundation and our CEO Scott Arney served as the first Chairman of the foundation. Members express their appreciation of the credit union both verbally and through testimonials. The National Police Credit Union marketing division has been very favorably received at the various Fraternal Order of Police meetings and functions across the country that we attended this year and feedback has been very positive.
To learn more about National Police Credit Union, please visit their website for their most up-to-date events and community happenings.