Navy Federal Credit Union opened a new branch Monday morning at the corner of South Main Street and Veterans Parkway in Hinesville.
Mark Enderle, regional manager of Navy Federal, said the credit union is the largest in the world and serves U.S. military service members, their families and Department of Defense civilians.
Enderle said that in 2008, Navy Federal opened its first local branch by Fort Stewart, “and it quickly became and established itself as one of the most successful branches at Navy Federal.”
“So built upon that success, we’ve come to here today and expanding our services here in the Hinesville area, which has been so good to us for the last six to seven years,” he said.
Katie Hargrove, branch manager, said she and her staff are happy to be part of the community.
“I’m originally from the Liberty County community, so just very proud that we can bring a service to the Liberty County that can enhance knowledge of the community, but help our service members, too, as well,” she said.
The new facility is one of Navy Federal’s new concept branches, according to Hargrove, with services including using iPads to help members get familiar with the credit union’s online services.
“As far as the grand-opening celebration, we just want to introduce the new branch to the community,” Hargrove said. “Get them comfortable with it, too, as well. And just have them to come and actually see their new branch.”
With several banks in town, credit unions offer a different financial option for Liberty County residents.
“Credit unions are actually owned by their members,” Enderle said. “So everybody that has an account here is an owner of this organization, which is the biggest fundamental difference between a credit union and a bank.”
“We exist to provide service to our members,” he added. “We do not answer to any shareholders. We’re not paying any dividends to stockholders or shareholders. So the very reason that we exist is to take (care) of those that have accounts with us.”
Hargrove and Enderle said that what makes Navy Federal stand out from the other financial institutions in Hinesville is its service.
“I think it goes back to our motto: ‘We serve where you serve,’” Hargrove said. “It’s not just about in this community, but we want to make sure that we’re there wherever the service member may go, so that they can have access to Navy Federal Credit Union.”
For the branch’s ribbon-cutting ceremony, a color guard from the Liberty County High School Junior ROTC presented the American and Georgia flags during the Pledge of Allegiance and national anthem.
The new branch has 19 employees, which Hinesville Mayor Allen Brown said is triple the number at its other location on Veterans Parkway near E.G. Miles Parkway.
“The Hinesville branch is Navy Federal’s 278th branch and the first branch that we’ve actually opened this year,” Enderle said. “We’re very excited about this location and the nearly 20,000 Navy Federal members here in the Hinesville area that now have access to another convenient location which where they can take care of all of their personal financial needs.”
Liberty County District 1 Commissioner Marion Stevens Sr., who introduced Brown, thanked the credit union for serving those in uniform.
Brown also thanked Navy Federal for its investment in the community, transforming the former wooded location into a new facility. He added that he has worked with the credit union through his real-estate customers and said the institution’s employees are great to work with.
Navy Federal took time during the ceremony to donate $1,000 to the Mary Lou Fraser Foundation for Families for its work in behavioral health in the community, including those in uniform.
“I would like to thank the community for their support,” Enderle said before the grand opening. “Because it’s their support that’s led to this day. So I think it’s important for us to recognize that.”