80 Years of History
It's taken a long time for Nymeo to become the blue-and-green-emblazoned credit union of the future! Under the former name COMSTAR, our credit union has been around for over 80 years. From humble beginnings in 1933, Nymeo has grown to over 20,000 members!
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Here are highlights from the long history that led to Nymeo:
- A small group of Bureau of Standards employees pooled their funds and applied for a charter in the District of Columbia to form The Standards Credit Union on November 18, 1933, and by the end of the year the Credit Union had $47.50 in shares! From the very start, the credit union subscribed to the basic principle of making loans to its members and paying a fair dividend for funds on deposit from the proceeds of loan interest.
- The credit union ended its first 20 years completely volunteer-staffed, with $111,727 in shares and $71,778 in loans. Total assets were $121,442. But all that would change in the next 20 years, spurred primarily by the booming post-World War II economy.
- At the end of 1959, after 25 years of operation, the credit union had 1,325 accounts and had made 7,292 loans to members. While The Standards Credit Union was celebrating 25 years of service, a new credit union was being formed in nearby Frederick County.
- Monocacy Federal Credit Union was formed in April 1959 to serve the military and civilian personnel at Fort Detrick. Nine Fort Detrick employees each contributed one share ($5) to get the credit union started.
- At our 30th anniversary in November of 1963, we reached the milestone of $1 million in assets. The Standards Credit Union converted to a federal charter in August 1964 and in the process changed its name to NBS-HDL Federal Credit Union, because membership was derived from the National Bureau of Standards and the Harry Diamond Laboratories. The change to a federal charter gave the credit union new authority, especially allowing an increase of the maximum personal loan amount from $300 to $750 and the ability to offer money orders and travelers' checks.
- In 1966, the credit union officially moved its headquarters to the NBS campus. Another change was conversion to a time-saving accounting system, which helped speed member transactions. Improving service to members has long been a primary focus for the credit union.
- While it took the credit union 30 years to reach $1 million in assets, it would grow to over $14 million just 15 years later, in 1978. The late 1970s also saw federal legislation allowing credit unions to expand their financial services. The late 1970s were the beginning of double-digit inflation, which presented some challenges for credit unions. While the credit union experienced some trials during this time, it remained strong and well-capitalized.
- By the end of 1985, assets were over $30 million and loans were over $14 million. A new computer system was installed which put terminals and printers on the teller line and replaced handwritten deposit and withdrawal slips. By the late '80s, the credit union formally adopted the mission of becoming the members' primary financial institution and continued expanding products and services offered to members.
- The year 1989 brought a wealth of changes to the credit union, with the most significant being a new name. The credit union's original sponsor organizations had both undergone name changes to the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) and the Army Research Laboratory (ARL), so NBS-HDL was not appropriate any longer. The credit union sponsored a contest for members, and Lt. Colonel Paul Fardink suggested the name COMSTAR. He invented the name to integrate the work done at both NIST and ARL. COMSTAR stood for "COMbined Science, Technology And Research." For his efforts, Lt. Colonel Fardink won a trip to the Bahamas. Also in 1989, COMSTAR chose to promote the theme "One More Reason To Use Your Credit Union!" And the credit union provided plenty of new reasons during the year, including the introduction of Visa credit cards and several more products and services.
- In 1990, COMSTAR merged with CYS Federal Credit Union in Laurel, which served the Highs Division of the Southland Corporation. Monocacy Federal Credit Union moved its operations to Rosemont Avenue in Frederick in September 1990.
- In 1994, the credit union introduced Online Home Banking through the use of a ScreenPhone, became a participant in the opening of the first "shared branch" facility in the metropolitan area, purchased a building in Clarksburg, MD, for administrative offices, discontinued the traditional Credit Committee to shorten loan decision time, began accepting Visa payments at teller stations and eliminated fees for POS (point-of-sale) transactions.
- The September 11, 2001 tragedy dramatically changed the ability to access branches at NIST and ARL, and convenience became a major issue for COMSTAR. During the year, the credit union deployed four new ATMs, including the first drive-up ATM, and opened a new branch in Clarksburg.
- In 2001, COMSTAR also began merger talks with Monocacy Federal Credit Union, and the merger was completed on January 1, 2002. With the merger, approximately 6,500 members joined the COMSTAR family, and all members now had a branch and additional ATM in Frederick. The merger incorporated many select employee groups into COMSTAR's field of membership, including Frederick's largest employer, Fort Detrick.
- In 2002, the credit union enlarged the Clarksburg branch, became a shared branch outlet and deployed two ATMS on Ft. Detrick. The credit union also became very involved in community events in the Frederick area. Providing more convenient locations continued in 2003 with the opening of two small branches on Ft. Detrick, moving the Frederick branch to a different location with drive-through windows, beginning service to Hughes Network Systems in Germantown and the deployment of three more ATMs.
- In our continuing effort to promote better use of resources, including our free and enhanced online services, a number of service changes took place starting in early 2011. Both lobby and drive-thru hours were extended at a number of branches, a coin-counting machine was added and COMSTAR entered the world of social networking with its own Facebook page. Our headquarters office was moved to 5210 Chairmans Court in Frederick, and the former Clarksburg headquarters office and branch closed. Members increasingly turned to Personal Credit Union (PCU) Online Banking, making it COMSTAR's most heavily used "branch."
- In 2013, COMSTAR underwent a re-branding. Now known as Nymeo (an anagram for money), the credit union looks forward to providing its members with "a new way to look at money." This also comes with a renewed commitment to personalized financial services for our members and innovative new uses of technology. Not to mention some new colors!
- In 2014, The National Credit Union Association approved the request for a community charter from a multi-common bond charter, which allowed Nymeo to open membership to anyone that lives, works, worships, attends schools, volunteers, or conducts regular business in Frederick County, Maryland. In addition, immediate family or household members of the existing membership may still join.
- 2015 was a year of great strides for Nymeo. Nymeo adopted a new core system that ultimately improved processing, staff efficiency and moved Nymeo into the modern age of technology. Nymeo introduced top-notch online and mobile banking products such as Mobile Deposit, Apple Pay, CardValet and Pop Money. In 2015, Nymeo also received the naming rights to the Frederick Keys baseball field – Nymeo Field. This strategic partnership helped to educate the Frederick community about Nymeo and also brought new opportunities to increase its membership base. In 2015, Nymeo also awarded its first Nymeo Believe & Achieve College Scholarship to three Frederick County High School seniors.
- To provide members with added security and protection, Nymeo introduced the EMV chip in 2016. Nymeo also continued to grow and opened the Bank Street branch in 2016 in Gaithersburg. This modern branch added convenience for members with a new ATM and drive-through window and also continued to service its loyal NIST members.
- In 2017, Nymeo strengthened and formalized its business partnership with Frederick County Public Schools and sponsored the first Millionaire’s Club at Brunswick High School. In continuing to create a work culture that encourages volunteerism, Nymeo staff began to regularly volunteer at the Frederick Rescue Mission and for the Food Bank’s School Pantry Program.
Nymeo continued to improve its online and mobile banking experience for members in 2017 and added convenient functions such as Touch Identification, Instant Balance and External Transfers. For the second year in a row, Nymeo received the awards for Best Credit Union to Work For and Best of the Best Credit Unions.