Reinvesting Growth in Our Members

By Mary McDuffie, President & CEO of Navy Federal Credit Union

Mary McDuffie, President & CEO of Navy Federal Credit Union

Navy Federal Credit Union formed 89 years ago when seven Navy Department employees joined up to help each other reach their financial goals. Fast forward to today—we’ve grown to more than 11 million members, but we still hold on to the same guiding principle that inspired our founders: our members are the mission.

Navy Federal’s membership has expanded at a rapid pace over the last few years, gaining around half a million members per year since 2018. We’ve been able to do so for one simple reason: our values are reflective of the military community, veterans, and their families, and they in-turn recognize the value of membership with Navy Federal.

We invest heavily in service to our members, as well as in the products and services needed to make their financial goals a reality. Additionally, we’ve continuously re-invested in the tools and resources that allow us to provide a top-notch member experience.

In short, we’ve focused on giving our members the best security, digital tools, and in-person services available.

Since I began as CEO in early 2019, digital transformation has been key to our success, and security is at the heart of what we do. We constantly add new features and create partnerships to ensure that our members’ accounts are safe. By investing in technologies such as VoiceID, which allows members to use their voice to verify their identity when calling, we provide added levels of security for our members. We also recently formed a partnership with the Cybercrime Support Network (CSN) to bolster safety and offer industry-leading security.

Whether through strategic partnerships like with CSN, or product and service updates, we strive to give our members peace of mind when it comes to maintaining their personal information and finances. But there is always room to improve member service, so we’ve worked hard to be at the forefront of digital service. In fact, every month almost two-thirds of our members use at least one digital channel. But we still believe it’s critical to be able to talk to a live person. Even when active duty servicemembers are deployed overseas, our 24/7 live, stateside phone service is there to answer questions or provide needed financial services.

We have made it our mission to meet members where they are. Our survey research and everyday interactions tell us that brick-and-mortar branches are critical in that effort. While many large financial institutions have cut back on in-person services, we’ve been adding branches steadily since 2011. With 350 physical locations, many members have both in-person and digital options, providing easier access to financial advice and resources. This is especially helpful for our active-duty members, as 186 of these branches are on or within three miles of a military installation.

Membership growth also allows investment in new services. But more importantly for our members’ financial wellness, growth gives us the opportunity to reinvest profits and provide lower fees and more favorable interest rates. We believe member satisfaction and a great member experience drive an organization’s success. Growth is great, but only when it feeds into a cycle of reinvesting profits to boost member satisfaction. It’s part of the credit union difference.

When I first started at Navy Federal, I was excited by the opportunity to serve those in uniform and their families. Although much has changed—and grown—since then, the things that make Navy Federal special remain. Throughout our expansion, we’ve stayed true to ourselves and our mission by committing to our members’ needs every single day. That isn’t changing any time soon.

Credit unions and their associations can connect with the Network on LinkedIn or by email at