Firefighters First Credit Union (FFCU) has been serving the financial needs of Los Angeles-area personnel for more than 80 years, but it’s their support of the families with years of contributions to the Widows & Orphans charity that’s led many to see them as much more than a credit union. Firefighters First graciously sponsors the LAFD Invitational charity golf tournament each year and recently provided exciting prizes for the big, “Golf Ball Drop,” that kicks off the event.
“We’re very integrated. We kind of complement each other. That’s how we started,” says Kelly Ramsey, senior vice president of marketing.
That start refers to the days when the charity developed from a “pass the boot” initiative into the dedicated organization that saw to the families of firefighters injured or killed in the line of duty. According to Ramsey, the histories of the FFCU and Widows & Orphans since 1935 have always been “intertwined,” and this relationship has served them well. “It’s a very small, intimate group. As a matter of fact, we just added in brothers and sisters [of firefighters] last year,” continues Ramsey. “We’re exclusive to firefighters and their immediate family. It’s about knowing their lifestyle and who they are and what they need.”
Providing tailored financial tools for firefighters
And over the years, the needs have changed with the economy and ambitions of the L.A. fire family. As expected, FFCU maintains the services and conveniences offered by most of the big banks, but are expertly groomed for the needs of firefighters. “So many of them have side businesses now, so we have business loans to help with that. We also just launched a new ‘Card Valet’ service that allows you to monitor activity on your credit and debit accounts with text alerts, and ‘freeze it’ if you misplace your card,” explains Ramsey.
Indeed, the hardest part of her job is making sure long-term members know that the FFCU is at the forefront of current financial trends. “For the LAFD, new recruit classes will know about it. It’s our long-term members who may not know how much we’ve changed,” she says. For example, identity theft and financial fraud are a major threat and continually on the rise, but the FFCU is constantly updating their fraud protection measures to help stop the incidents before they occur.
Firefighters First Credit Union gives back to the community
All of that fiscal know-how serves as a perfect backdrop for their commitment to the community. “I work to give back to the firefighters in any way I can,“ shares Ramsey. Whether it’s toy drives, pancake breakfasts or the large sponsorship FFCU has provided at the LAFD Invitational golf tournament in past years, she sees their connection to the Widows & Orphans charity as a brothers-in-arms partnership serving the same family. “Right down to the scholarships for the students, we do a lot of events with them. We work with all the drives and fundraisers to support the entire community,” she says. “We definitely see the benefit of what they’re bringing to the firefighters. And to the work they do with that fundraising to support the people in need.”
For more information about the Firefighters First Credit Union, please contact them at
(800) 231-1626 or visit their website at firefightersfirstcu.org.
Learn more about opportunities to support our firefighter charity
By Candace Nicholson