Tuesday, June 25th, 2019

Langley Federal Credit Union Story


Community-based financial institution expands on the Southside

by Rob Lauer

Langley Federal Credit Union’s new office <BR>in the heart of Virginia Beach Town Center is its newest  location serving the Southside.

Langley Federal Credit Union’s new office
in the heart of Virginia Beach Town Center is its newest location serving the Southside.

There’s a newcomer to the heart of Virginia Beach Town Center: Langley Federal Credit Union.

“Our Southside branches have been incredibly busy opening new accounts, so we recognized the need for further expansion,” Langley Senior Vice President Deb Vollmer states. “This additional Virginia Beach branch—the third in the city—solidifies our commitment to serving the Southside residents.”

While in the public’s mind the credit union’s name certainly ties it to the Peninsula’s Langley Air Force Base and NASA, the institution actually predates the space program by decades. In fact, one must go back more than a century to understand and appreciate the history of Langley Federal Credit Union.

Just a little over 11 years after the Wright Brothers showed the world how to fly at Kitty Hawk, the federal government established the National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics (NACA) on March 3, 1915. Despite its prestigious sounding name, this federal agency was originally comprised of only 12 unpaid but highly-qualified men—all united by their unbridled passion for promoting and conducting aeronautical research, and all while working with an annual budget of only $5,000. In 1917, NACA’s very first civilian aeronautics research laboratory was established in Hampton—the Langley Aeronautical Memorial Laboratory, named in honor of American aviation pioneer Samuel P. Langley.

What has also remained constant
is Langley’s commitment
to improving life
in the communities that it serves
...last year alone,
the credit union and its foundation
combined to give $890,000
to charitable organizations
across the region.

With the advent of World War I (the first conflict in which airpower played a significant role), the scope of the research conducted at Langley Aeronautical Memorial Laboratory expanded—as did its budget and personnel. Despite the agency’s growth, however, its employees, like all other Americans, had to deal with the financial challenges brought on by the Great Depression. In the 1930s, with many Americans losing their homes and savings to banks, credit unions became an appealing alternative to other large financial institutions.

Unlike banks, credit unions are not-for-profit financial cooperatives dedicated to improving the lives of their members. There are no outside stockholders: the members themselves are the owners. Credit unions exist to provide the best service possible for their members—not to churn out profits for stockholders by charging high fees for the services they offer. All profits are returned to the credit union members in the form of better rates, superior service and lower fees. Unlike banks, credit unions are governed by an unpaid, volunteer board of directors. Because other financial institutions do not operate this way, it is easy to understand the appeal that credit unions had to those struggling in the grips of the Great Depression. To help Americans with small incomes get credit, the federal government established a nationwide credit union system in 1934.

On April 17, 1936, twenty-five NACA employees created the National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics Laboratory Federal Credit Union. Each of these employees deposited one dollar toward the credit union’s charter fee. Ernest J. Shave was elected president and, with assets totaling $275, the credit union opened its doors for business one month later. During its early years, the NACA cafeteria often served as the credit union’s unofficial “main” office.

The following decades saw many significant changes. NACA became NASA; Langley Aeronautical Memorial Laboratory became Langley Air Force Base, and in 1956, the credit union officially changed its name to Langley Federal Credit Union. While membership was originally tied to NACA, it is now possible for anyone in the Hampton Roads area to join Langley through its various business and organizational relationships.

What began as a small idea has evolved into the largest Hampton Roads credit union. Today, the economic impact that Langley delivers to the area is profound, with over $2 billion in member loans and deposits. This has enabled members to buy or refinance homes, purchase vehicles, send their kids to school and save for retirement.

What has never changed is Langley’s commitment to helping its members effectively deal with current financial realities while preparing for the future. “I believe the services we offer are what set us apart,” Senior Vice President of Marketing Fred Hagerman says. “We are here to help people build a strong financial future.” As technology has evolved, Langley has kept in step with the latest innovations, making access to those services easier and more efficient.

What has also remained constant is Langley’s commitment to improving life in the communities that it serves. In fact, the scope of its community outreach and charitable work has broadened tremendously: in 2014, the credit union established the Langley for Families Foundation, a 501 c3 dedicated to making a difference in the lives of families across Hampton Roads. Last year alone, the credit union and its foundation combined to give $890,000 to charitable organizations across the region.

In addition to the new Virginia Beach Town Center location, Langley plans to complete a merger with Old Dominion University Credit Union (ODUCU) in November 2018, further increasing the credit union’s presence on the Southside. With an on-campus branch in the university’s Webb Center, and another one at 2701 Hampton Blvd., Langley will bring its services to the employees, students and alumni of Old Dominion University.

Langley’s focus on education extends beyond the new presence at ODU. Each year, it awards the Christopher Newport University Luter School of Business Scholarship to four rising juniors enrolled in that school. This $5,000 scholarship is renewed annually for that student. A similar program is currently being established at Hampton University.

Teachers are also recognized at Langley. Up to 30 middle and high school teachers working within the Hampton Roads area will be selected to receive a $500 grant to help support current or new classroom projects. The grant monies can be invested in those projects during 2018-2019 academic year.

“Consumers continue to be driven
to community-based financial institutions.”

 —Deb Vollmer

Langley’s commitment to the financial well-being of its members is responsible for its astounding growth. With more than 250,000 members, Langley now operates 19 offices throughout Hampton Roads. With its newest location in Virginia Beach Town Center, local residents can easily find an office that is convenient to where they live or work. “Consumers continue to be driven to community-based financial institutions, ”Deb Vollmer concludes, “and as the largest credit union based in Hampton Roads, we know we have a lot to offer the residents of Virginia Beach.

Langley Federal Credit Union

721 Lakefront Commons
Newport News, VA 23606

Now on the Southside at these locations:

Greenbrier Branch

109 Volvo Parkway, Chesapeake, VA 23320
(757) 827-5328

Chesapeake Square Branch

2600 Taylor Road, Chesapeake, VA 23321
(757) 827-5328

Eagle Harbor Branch
13478 Carrollton Blvd (Unit A), Carrollton, VA 23314
(757) 827-5328

Hilltop Branch
741 First Colonial Road, Virginia Beach, VA 23451
(757) 827-5328

Sandbridge Branch
2090 Princess Anne Road Virginia Beach, VA 23456
(757) 827-5328

Wards Corner Branch
7420 Granby Street, Norfolk, VA 23505
(757) 827-5328