A Fleet of New Hires

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VIENNA, Va.-Navy Federal Credit Union set an ambitious goal for 2010: hire 1,000 employees. The credit union giant not only met the goal, it nearly doubled it.

Louise Foreman, EVP of human resources for Navy Federal, told Credit Union Journal, "We are glad to say we exceeded the January forecast. We anticipate ending the year with total new hires of 1,800 people."

The majority of the hires, she said, are the results of what Navy Federal considered "positive trends:" upticks in mortgage and consumer lending, and staffing a total of 14 new branches, up from the projected 10.

About two-thirds of the 1,800 were backfills, or hiring to replace people who left jobs, while the other one-third are budgeted new hire jobs the $42.8-billion CU had planned for.

Navy Federal also obtained USA FCU in San Diego through a merger earlier this year, which led to 200 new employees and 19 additional branches. Navy Federal added a total of 33 new branches this year, and will have 211 branches by year-end.

"With an increase in the number of branches, we are adding additional staff as well as staffing up the USA Fed branches to meet our standards in those branches," Foreman said. "As a result of these positive changes, we are adding approximately 350,000 new members, meaning we need to staff to accommodate these new members. That is an 8% increase in membership over 2009, and we will have 3.6 million members as of the end of this year."

Foreman said Navy Federal's management feels "very fortunate" to continue its growth in membership. For 2011, it estimates 1,500 hires, about one-third of whom will be brand-new positions to the existing employee base. It will end 2010 with 7,700 employees, and expects it will end 2011 with 8,200.

Surging Loan Volume

"A lot of it has to do with the fact we continue to be very focused on serving our members," Foreman said. "Because we have this focus, we have to have the right people and enough people to supply member service. Members can reach us online and through mobile access, but it is important to keep up the people aspect. We expect to hit $5 billion in mortgages in 2010, and are experiencing a very strong year overall in lending, including auto loans and credit cards."

One benefit of a slack economy: Foreman said she is seeing "extremely well qualified" applicants for all levels of positions because many people are looking for work.

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