FirstLight Federal Credit Union - Business of the Month May 2014

May 12th, 2014

Serving the local and military community


FirstLight Federal Credit Union Banking institutions are a very impor­tant part of a community. Large corpora­tions, small business and members of the community all use their services.

All banks have a target market, some focusing on a larger demographics while others narrowing in on a smaller group. FirstLight Federal Credit Union is a local institution well known in Las Cruces for serving El Paso and Doña Ana communities.

FirstLight Federal Credit Union’s es­tablishment goes back to 1955. It was formed as cooperative when a group of nine individuals, presumably servicemen, decided to unite and form a credit soci­ety. The organization was named Frontier Federal Credit Union and it was located on Biggs Air Force Base. At this time, mem­bership to the union was limited to mili­tary and civilians attached to the base, em­ployees of the credit union, and members of their immediate family.

The development of the union took a great turn in 1997, when the credit union was granted a low-income charter, enabling it to expand its membership to anyone liv­ing or working in Doña Ana County. In 1998, the credit union added the North Main Street branch in Las Cruces, fol­lowed by the Transmountain branch in El Paso in 1999. A third El Paso branch was opened on Lee Trevino in 2003.

Underscoring the initiative to serve the El Paso and Doña Ana counties and heighten awareness of membership
opportunities, Fort Bliss Federal Credit Union changed its name to FirstLight Federal Credit Union in July 2005.

With the mission to help members achieve financial success, FirstLight strives to find new ways to help members. Such additions include changes to their infrastructure with the new online banking system and the rollout of the mobile application. Its vision is, “FirstLight Federal Credit Union will be recognized as an employer of choice, a community leader, and the financial insti­tution first sought by its members for all of their financial needs.”

The credit union keeps it’s competitive edge by listening to its members, meeting their needs, understanding market needs and finding solutions to continually improve.

FirstLight Federal Credit Union has had different challenges and obstacles. Due to it’s origins, being built to the military’s needs, this led to an obstacle of having to change El Paso and Dona Ana County residents’ perceptions of FirstLight be­ing only a military credit union to being a community credit union that serves both the military and the community.

Another obstacle was helping commu­nities understand what role a credit union plays compared to a bank. Other than more personalized service, credit unions are lo­cal, member-owned institutions.

In the future, technology will play a vi­tal role in their institutions. It will serve to
provide members a better, personalized ex­perience and ultimately help them achieve financial success. FirstLight Federal Credit Union will be able to provide even more convenience to business members through multi-channel availability. In addition, in­creasing the breadth of products will en­sure FirstLight is a place and business in the community where members can get all their financial needs met.