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History


Founded in 1928 by a group of employees at the Norfolk Naval Shipyard. After the organization meeting and the election of the first officers, the group began the process of developing the by-laws and submitting the application to the State Corporation Commission for their charter. On June 7, 1929 the charter was received and Navy Yard Credit Union was official.

The Credit Union weathered the Great Depression due to the stable employment available at the shipyard during the 1930’s. The credit union principal of “People Helping People” was a key factor during the worst economic period in the history of the country.

ship

In 1951 the Board of Directors made a decision to move the Annual Meeting because certain large credit union stockholders were not allowed into the restaurant based solely on their race. While this decision in the light of today's standards may have lost some of its importance, in 1951 this decision spoke volumes about the character of the Board and the fact that all members have a right to express their opinion on the operation of their credit union. The Board made this decision based solely on the fact that it was the “right” thing and not because “that’s the way it always was”. This decision came three years before the Supreme Court decision in Brown -vs- the Board of Education of Topeka, Kansas and thirteen years before the passage of the 1964 Civil Rights Act.

In November 1952, the Board hired the Credit Union’s first employee, Mrs. Marion Brown. In addition to the employment of the first employee, the Credit Union moved into the area of modernization with the installation of its’ first bookkeeping machine. Gone were the days of manually posting the Credit Union’s books in the hardbound ledger book.

In June 1960 the first personnel policy was enacted by the Board under the title of Employee Relations. This policy addressed vacation, sick leave and weekly pay periods. The 1960’s saw the election/appointment to the Board of Directors of the first woman, Ruby Jones in 1962 and the first minority, J.T. Parker in 1969. The first non-Credit Committee loan officer was appointed in 1968 with a lending limit of $300.00.

After 40 years, in October 1968 the by-laws were changed and the Credit Union was no longer a stock corporation like banks. The era of “one member – one vote” had begun.

In the 1970’s. Some of the changes that occurred were:

  • The first retirement plan for employees was implemented in March 1974.
  • The first reference to the USS Chesapeake at the logo occurred in September 1975.
  • Open-End loans were introduced in April 1976.
  • The first “on-line” computer system was installed in June 1977.
  • Share Draft/Checking was introduced in December 1977.
  • The office at George Washington Highway was opened in December 1977.
  • The office at M-32 was opened in December 1978.
  • The first member newsletter was published in January, 1978

All of these changes attributed to the continued growth of the Credit Union. The rate of change continued to quicken in the 1980’s with the advent of new services, products, delivery channels and technology. All of this was done in an economic environment that had never been encountered. Interest rates reached record highs and the demand for new services increased. A few of the changes that occurred in the 1980’s were:

  • Travelers Checks were sold in the branches for the first time in June 1980. The cost to our members was $1.00 per $100.00 purchased.
  • Christmas Club accounts were re-introduced in August 1980. These accounts were originally offered in 1949 only to be stopped in 1951 due to cost. This time interest was paid on the accounts.
  • The first certificates were offered in March 1981. This provided our members to an alternative for the other deposit accounts offered at other institutions in the high interest rate environment of the times.
  • The first Individual Retirement Accounts were offered in January 1982.
  • In June 1983 a major computer system conversion occurred allowing the Credit Union to stay current in the area of ever-changing technology.
  • The first credit cards were issued in 1986.
  • The first ATM cards were issued in 1987. Also in 1987 GE Credit Union was merged into our Credit Union.

In addition to the above noted changes, the internal organization also underwent a complete restructuring. New departments were created, new positions filled and staff training became a critical component to the ability to serve the member. Numerous consumer protection laws were enacted requiring changes to the operation and the training of the staff. These organization changes included the Board and Management structure. The position of President of the Board became Chairman and the position of Manager of the Credit Union became President. All of these changes were instrumental to the continued success and growth of the Credit Union.

During the 90’s the shipyard reduced its’ employment base to approximately 6,500 – 7,000. This event could have been devastating to the Credit Union if not for a change that was enacted by Congress regarding the definition of field of membership. In 1991 Congress approved an expansion of those individuals eligible to join a credit union to include Family Members and the Commonwealth of Virginia followed suit. This change allowed the Credit Union to increase the number of members even though the employment base in its’ primary field of membership was reduced.

  • In 1991, a new branch was opened
  • In April 2000, a change to the charter that had served the institution so well since 1928 was approved unanimously by the membership. This new charter was obtained in February 2001 and was for the entire City of Portsmouth.
  • In April 2001, the membership unanimously approved changing the name of the Credit Union to Northern Star Credit Union. The name change was approved in September 2001 and became effective on January 1, 2002.
  • Soon after an expanded community charter was obtained to include all individuals in Chesapeake, Suffolk, Portsmouth, Virginia Beach, Norfolk, Newport News, and Hampton.

Currently, we have three branches and over 30 full-time employees. Each member of our staff and Board of Directors upholds the principal of "People helping people."