In a Nutshell: Blue Federal Credit Union serves more than 112,000 members primarily in Wyoming and Colorado and strives to provide products and services that cater to every possible financial need. Through its charitable arm, The Blue Foundation, the credit union also helps with funding and volunteerism. It supports causes that range from junior achievement to financial literacy courses and community development projects.
American consumers may be rethinking how safe their financial institutions are in light of rampant inflation, all-time high gas prices, and supply shortages. Some of them may avoid looking at their account balances after a fill-up or trip to the grocery store.
Blue Federal Credit Union has more than 112,000 members looking to it for assurance that their hard-earned money is in good hands. The credit union has 19 branches that serve the front range of Wyoming and down to Denver, Colorado, with more being planned and built in the next year. And Blue aims to do far more than just help members in that 150-mile radius.
“Our mission statement is: We discover pathways to your possibilities. This mission is activated through our commitment to creating authentic connections with our members, employees, and communities. Becoming a true lifelong champion. For You. For Life,” said Chandler Elmore, Community Development Lead at Blue Federal Credit Union.
The credit union’s Blue Foundation expands on that mission by providing financial support, financial literacy tools, and other resources to everyone in the institution’s service area — not just members.
“Whether you are a multimillionaire, a first-year college student, or a freshman high school student and looking for your first car — we’ve got you,” Elmore said.
Blue FCU offers membership to employees of 1,200 select employer groups (or SEGs) that partner with the institutions. Members can also open an account by donating to the Blue Foundation. Blue prides itself in opening its doors to everyone who needs financial services — regardless of their credit past.
That drive to serve, educate, and uplift makes Blue the largest credit union in Wyoming.
“There’s a stigma with having bad credit,” Elmore said. “People think, ‘What did you do to screw up?’ Or ‘What do you do to get yourself in that situation?’ But it’s not always that. Life happens. We want to help people discover pathways to improve their financial situation and begin fulfilling dreams.”
Blue Foundation Encourages Wellness in Many Areas
The Blue Foundation is a separate business entity from Blue FCU, but the two work closely within its service area. The foundation was launched to support and lead the credit union’s charitable giving. It matches up to 80% of every donated dollar it receives and returns it to local communities.
To date, the Foundation has helped fund Junior Achievement sponsorships and has raised more than $30,000 for Habitat For Humanity organizations in Cheyenne, Wyoming, and Fort Collins, Colorado.
“You can’t be financially well if you don’t have a house, right?” Elmore said. “So it’s the full circle approach of focusing on what financial wellness looks like in our communities, and then supporting organizations that are doing the most good in those communities.”
The Blue Foundation also supports local homeless shelters and funds job programs to help people get back on their feet by finding housing.
One of the credit union’s most significant undertakings to date occurred in June of 2021 during its 70th anniversary. As part of the festivities, Blue pledged to pay off up to $70,000 worth of debt for a handful of lucky winners — even if the debt wasn’t with the credit union.
“It was really cool to be a part of,” Elmore said. “It was even cooler because we had a member who had a personal loan to cover medical expenses. She was randomly selected out of nearly 12,000 people, and her loan was paid off in full.”
Blue held a press conference to announce the winner, and the selected member couldn’t hold back her joy.
“She was just elated,” Elmore said. “But not like ‘I’m going to Disney World,’ but more like, ‘I’m so grateful that somebody believes in me and wants to help me along my financial journey.’ That’s what Blue is about.”
Products For Growing Wealth and Building Credit
On the product side, Blue is known for providing attractive rates on its checking accounts. That includes its popular Extreme Checking Account that regularly offers rates between 1.00% and 2.00% APY on balances of up to $15,000.
The credit union offers products explicitly designed to help consumers with bad credit scores take control of their financial futures.
“We have what we call a fresh start account,” said Elmore. “It can help people who have bad credit, but also those who can’t get financial services from other institutions. We really want them to have great financial wellness and great financial underpinnings.”
Blue offers a secured credit card as a more straightforward way to rebuild credit for members in need.
Blue also provides a wide range of savings products, including traditional accounts, accelerated savings with higher interest rates, Christmas Club savings accounts, IRA and Money Market, and other vehicles for growing wealth. Many of these accounts have low, or no, minimum deposit requirements to serve more members.
“We strive to make sure that we aren’t excluding anyone from the banking process,” said Elmore. “A lot of the largest banks are hard to get into if you have bad credit. We have products in place and people in place that want to help you on your financial journey — no matter where you come from.”
Blue’s competitive rates and responsive customer service attract members from all 50 states. And its broad membership represents people with varying financial needs.
“We’re not going to exclude anyone from the process. We want you to be a part of the process,” Elmore said. “We want you to be part of a safe, secure organization. So we provide different avenues.”
Striving To Prove That ‘Blue Is Best’
Blue distinguishes itself from other financial institutions, including banks and credit unions, through its deep commitment to community improvement and development.
“Financial education is a huge component of what we do,” Elmore said. “We do monthly outreach at a nearby Air Force Base, where we go and work with airmen who are just joining the Air Force. They just got their first station, and they’re posted in Cheyenne, Wyoming, away from their family.”
Blue also partners with outside foundations and agencies to promote financial literacy to everyone in its community — whether they’re members or not.
“We recently partnered with the FBI and Wyoming and Colorado Better Business Bureaus and held a fraud seminar,” Elmore said. “We had more than 350 people attend to learn about potential financial fraud and scams.”
Blue’s educational outreach focuses on trending topics, including the rise in cybercrime and age-old lessons that lay the foundation for a healthy financial journey. Elmore said that the institution strives to prove that “Blue is Best,” and the feedback it receives shows members agree.
“We’re not just the company’s credit union,” he said. “We’re not just a Wyoming Credit Union. We truly have a global presence, and we strive to reach everyone where they are and help them realize their pathways to possibility.”