TIP charter opens door to nationwide niche membership

Preparing Firefighters First FCU for the future has meant expanding membership and examining offerings.

At a time when most charter changes among credit unions are moving from federal to state oversight, Firefighters First Federal Credit Union, Los Angeles, moved in the opposite direction to obtain a trade, industry or profession charter to serve firefighters across the United States.

Founded in 1935 as Los Angeles Firemen’s Credit Union, the financial cooperative has stayed focused on its value proposition to that core membership through the years—to the point of reaching near-total market penetration. That success led its leaders to study carefully the credit union’s next steps.

“To be a future-oriented credit union, we needed to expand and grow our membership as well as our product, service and delivery channel offerings,” says CEO Dixie Abramian, CME, CSE. “We looked at the pros and cons of the credit union and banking models, state versus federal charters, and private insurance versus federal insurance.”


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