Greenbelt Federal Credit Union
When the first families moved into Greenbelt, there was no banking facilities; so a few pioneers got together and decided to organize a credit union. Greenbelt Federal Credit Union received its charter on December 13, 1937, opened for business on January 3, 1938, and held its first annual meeting on January 19, 1938. It became the first community credit union in the area, the first financial institution in Greenbelt and the first cooperative in Greenbelt. This year, GFCU is celebrating its 75th anniversary.
Cynthia Comproni, General Manager of Greenbelt Federal Credit Union, stands in front of the credit union in Roosevelt Center. Since its founding, GFCU has occupied several locations in Roosevelt Center, from an office at Greenbelt Consumer Services (predecessor of today’s Co-op), to adjacent city office, to Nationwide Insurance office above the present day Beijing Restaurant, to an office behind where Domino’s Pizza is, and to the Co-op where the pharmacy is. In 1982, after the Greenbelt Post Office moved to a new location below the Co-op Supermarket, GFCU and Twin Pines Savings and Loan moved into its former space. GFCU has remained in this location since then; however, Twin Pines later went out of business and its space now houses the New Deal Café. The Post Office has also moved out of Roosevelt Center and now is in Greenbelt East.
One plaque says: “Greenbelt City Council and Greenbelt Recycling and Environment Advisory Committee recognizes Greenbelt Federal Credit Union for ‘Outstanding Community Recycling Efforts.’” Another says: “This is to certify that Greenbelt Federal Credit Union is celebrating 75 years of service to its members in 2012.” The signs are about USA PATRIOT Act’s requirement of identification when opening a new account, vacation loan (“You can enjoy some fun in the sun and borrow up to $3000.00 at a hot rate as low as 7% apr.”), the bank’s annual school supply collection for Springhill Lake Elementary School, and Enterprise car sales.
Cynthia Comproni has been General Manager at Greenbelt Federal Credit Union since 1985. She tells me that her father-in-law Joseph D. Comproni was a Greenbelt pioneer and one of those who organized the credit union. He was its part-time manager and in 1971, after retiring from the federal government, became GFCU’s first full-time manager. Cynthia Comproni joined the credit union in 1981 and became general manager in 1985. When she started, the credit union had an asset of $5 million and today it has 2,900 members and an asset of $26 million.
Adriane, Loan Officer
The five full-time employees pose for a group photo. There are also three part-time employees.
Cynthia Comproni stands by a display of GFCU’s history in her office. The display was made several years ago and consists of newspaper clippings, photographs, and a timeline.
The photo at the upper right corner says “Greenbelt Federal Credit Union-January 1960. Photo by Paul Kasko.” Below that is “Thursday, October 27, 1994, [Congressman Steny] Hoyer Visits GFCU.” Next to that is “Mayor Richard R. Pilski presents plaques to Joseph D. Comproni (left), manager of Greenbelt Federal Credit Union, and Benjamin Rosenzweig, president, commemorating International Credit Union Day and declaring October 19 as Credit Union Day in Greenbelt.” (Note that the letters and clock in that photo are just like those in the group photo taken today. Cynthia Comproni tells me that the letters were made by her brother-in-law in his shop.) At the left hand side, the group of three photos have this caption: “GFCU Annual Membership Meeting, Late 1970’s. Membership meetings occur yearly in March.”
The following is the timeline on the display:
1937: Residents of Greenbelt formed the first community credit union. It was the first banking facility for Greenbelt residents
1937, December 13: Federal charter granted
1937, December 22: First Board of Directors formed.
1952: Began financing GHI homes downpayments
1955-January: Moved from GCS to adjacent city office
1957: Moved to Nationwide Insurance Office
1961-January: Moved to 153 Centerway (behind Nyman Realty)
1962: 25th Anniversary! Moved to 121 Centerway (next to Pharmacy)
1971: Became federally insured by NCUA (National Credit Union Administration). Shares Passed $1M
1974: Board Approved GFCU/Consumer Coop FCU merger
1977: Received Thrift Honor Award from NCUA; given to the top 10 credit unions that showed longest monthly rate in total savings
1981-March: Reached $5 million in assets.
1982: Moved to current location: 122 Centerway
1982-June: Became member of Mid-Atlantic Clearing House to provide Direct Deposit service to our members
1983-June: Field of membership redefined to include immediate families of members: spouse, children, foster children, grandchildren, parents, grandparents, brothers and sisters
1986: Joined Roosevelt Center Merchants Association
1986-September: Purchased in-house computer service to better serve our members
1987-December 13; Celebrating of 50th Anniversary
1991: Add New Services: Access to Price Club Warehouse and Tax assistance
1992: Asset size hit $10 million
1993: Added New Service: Money Market Investment Account. Joined National Association of Federal Credit Union
1997: Updated computer system to provide faster processing. Added New Service: Western Union
2000: Added New Service: VISA Check Card
2001: Asset size hit $15 million
2002: New Service Added: Loan applications by internet on checks issued by VISA credit cards
2004: New Service Added: Home Equity Loans, ATM machine and Debit Cards
2005: Paid dividend bonuses to members. Provided Shred truck in Greenbelt
2006: Expanded Field of Membership to include those who attend school in Greenbelt or worship in Greenbelt. Added New Service: VISA Travel Cards and Gift Cards
2007: New computer system including online banking, new website, and archive receipts and reports
2008: Assets hit over $20 million
2008: Collected school supplies for children in need. Joined Greenbelt Cooperatives Alliance.
2009: Joined the Co-op Network of credit unions offering free ATM transactions to its members.
2012: Added New Service: e-statements and Online Bill Pay including person to person and account transfers.
Every year before school starts, GFCU holds a school supply drive for students in need at Springhill Lake Elementary School. This is a donation box by the entrance.
“Help Me Achieve!”
Greenbelt Federal Credit Union is raising school supplies and cash donations for kids in need at Springhill Lake Elementary School. There are drop boxes for school supplies at the Credit Union and Co-op Supermarket. Cash donations can be made at the Credit Union. Donations will be taken until August 17th.
(Springhill Lake Elementary School)
Back Pack/Book Bags
Binders-3 ring 1.5”
Some of the school supplies collected so far. The original deadline was August 17 but it has been extended to August 20.
The Greenbelt Federal Credit Union will host several activities to celebrate October Co-op Month and International Credit Union Week, also in October. There will be a community shredding day, giveaways and refreshments for members, and special rates.