During World War II, planners in the War Department realized that military service members needed a better banking system. By 1943, more than 140 military installations had banking facilities, and in 1947, services began in Europe and the Pacific.
Today, credit unions and banking facilities help military and civilians worldwide manage multiple currencies through local branches and online services. A branch sharing cooperative grants access to more facilities worldwide. For details, visit www.co-opsharedbranch.org.
Credit unions are not-for-profit cooperatives owned and operated by their members. Member savings are combined to create a pool of funds from which other members can borrow. Members then reap the rewards of pooled investment income by gaining lower loan rates, higher savings rates and additional products and services. Credit unions are also controlled through a democratic process. Annually, members elect a volunteer board of directors to oversee operations. Currently, six credit unions provide service in Europe:
Andrews Federal Credit Union
Branches in Brussels and Chièvres, Belgium; Schinnen, the Netherlands; Wiesbaden and shared branching in cooperation with Service Credit Union. For more than 60 years, Andrews Federal has provided services to the military stateside and abroad. Services include online banking, bill pay, eStatements, toll-free phone access, worldwide ATM access and a co-op ATM/credit union program. Call 00.800.4875.6267, www.andrewsfcu.org.
Global Federal Credit Union
Branches in Aviano, Vicenza and Tirrennia, Italy. Founded in 1954, Global Credit Union has provided services to Army and Air Force servicemembers since 1969. For more information, visit www.globalcu.org or in Italy call toll-free 800.87.3004 and their 24/7 STARS line 800.87.3009.
Keesler Federal Credit Union
Branches at RAF Alconbury, RAF Lakenheath and RAF Mildenhall, United Kingdom. Founded in 1947, Keesler Federal is the largest credit union in Mississippi, its headquarters. For more on services, contact them from overseas locations at 00.800.8900.9000 or visit www.kfcu.org.
Navy Federal Credit Union
Branches in Rota, Spain, Souda Bay, Greece and both Sigonella and Naples, Italy. Since 1933, Navy Federal has provided services to military worldwide, currently including Africa, Bahrain, Cuba, Diego Garcia, Greece, Guam, Hong Kong,
Italy, Japan, Korea, Okinawa, Puerto Rico, Singapore and Spain. To contact them 24 hours a day from Europe, call toll-free 00.800.0.842.6328 and visit www.navyfederal.org.
Pentagon Federal Credit Union
With branches in Azores, Portugal, and headquartered in Alexandria, Virginia, Pentagon is one of the largest U.S. credit unions, serving 1.3 million members worldwide and providing an extensive list of services. For extensive contact information, visit www.penfed.org/contact-us.
Service Credit Union
Branches in Ansbach, Baumholder, Garmisch, Grafenwoehr, Hohenfels, Kaiserslautern, Ramstein, Sembach, Spangdahlem, Stuttgart and Vilseck, Germany. Service Credit Union was originally chartered to serve military and civilian employees at Pease Air Force base. Today, Service Credit Union provides financial services to more than 150,000 members in the U.S. and worldwide. Service Credit Union continuously enhances services to meet the needs of military “people on the move.” Call24 provides an automated teller 24 hours a day, seven days a week. To sign up for Call24, call the Contact Center at 001.800.936.7730 (U.S.), or through the international toll-free number 00800.4728.2000, or at a local branch. For more information, call the above numbers, military DSN 314-493-4384/4385, or go to www.servicecu.org.
Contracted financial services, Community Bank Operated by Bank of America
Since 1976, the Department of Defense has awarded a contract to a financial institution to provide banking and financial services for military, DOD, and U.S. government employees and their family members stationed overseas. Currently, Bank of America holds this contract and provides services through its 70 Community Bank branch offices and more than 300 ATMs in Germany, the Netherlands, United Kingdom, Italy, Japan, Okinawa, Korea, Diego Garcia, Guantanamo Bay, Cuba and Kwajalein Atoll. Community Bank also has an Interactive Banking service to allow customers account access from almost anywhere.
For customers in the U.K., Community Bank created the Sterling Services program with similar products to U.S. dollar accounts, such as cheque writing, ATM access and online banking. For more info, contact: Toll-free from the continental U.S. at 800-239-9427 M-F, 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. CST. DSN Line, 00-800-BANK-EASY (00-800-2265-3279); U.K.: DSN, 94-546-1892. Germany, the Netherlands, Italy: DSN, 546-1892. For more about Community Bank, go to www.dodcommunitybank.com.
Qualifying retirees living abroad may access to credit unions and financial services. Visit www.dfas.mil/dfas/retiredmilitary.html for details. Customer service providers are available to help open accounts and CDs, establish and manage retirement, and create a financial plan for you and your family.