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Monday, Sep 26, 2022
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Frontwave Credit Union Buys Arena Naming Rights

FINANCIAL: Institution ‘Gives Back’ to Community

Frontwave Credit Union based in Oceanside has bought the naming rights to a new indoor arena in the El Corazon section of the city and is running a series of what it calls “give-back” events that started in May with free gas.
The 171,291-square-foot arena is scheduled to be the new home of the San Diego Sockers.
“We’re very excited about it,” said Frontwave CEO Bill Birnie.
Birnie declined to say how much Frontwave paid for the naming rights, adding that he couldn’t discuss other details of the arrangement until a formal announcement is made.

Gas, Tacos and Surfers

The give-back events were scheduled as a way to celebrate the credit union’s 70th anniversary.

Bill Birnie
CEO
Frontwave Credit Union

“Times are tough and they’re not getting any easier. Inflation’s rising, we’ve got interest rates going up, borrowing is going to be a little difficult. It’s just an opportunity for us to go out and say, ‘Hey, we’re here. We’ve got your back and we’re going to do what we can to make your life a little bit better,’” Birnie said. “We really believe in the credit union philosophy of helping people.”
The first give-back events were May 24 and May 26 when Frontwave staffers known as “dream makers” pumped $50 of free gas to 40 drivers at two Camp Pendleton service stations.
“Word got out quick,” Birnie said. “The folks that were there were telling me that within five minutes, the first or second person in line was texting all their buddies, ‘come in and get some free gas.’ We had a line within minutes. Social networking works.”
Other give-back events planned include a free taco day at Tri-City Medical Center in Oceanside.
“They’re doing great things for our community. We wanted to say thank you. Those health care workers have not had it easy for the last two years. We appreciate them being there to take care of people,” Birnie said.
Also planned is a pet adoption day at the San Diego Humane Society campuses in Oceanside and Escondido in which Frontwave will pay the adoption fees of people who take home pets.
The credit union also plans to donate school supplies and sponsor field trips for schools chosen by staffers in each branch office and will host a meet-and-greet breakfast for girls at the Super Girl Surf Pro Series in Oceanside in September.
“It’s all about empowering women in the surf community,” Birnie said. “It would be great for people to meet an actual professional surfer competing in the event. Think of the diversity, giving people an opportunity to mingle with pro athletes and surfing’s kind of a thing here in Southern California so that’s always good.”
By the time the official anniversary rolls around on Oct. 28, Birnie estimated that Frontwave will have spent about $40,000 on give-back-events.

Worldwide Reach

Founded in 1952 as Camp Pendleton Federal Credit Union, Frontwave over time merged with other credit unions at the Marine Corps Recruit Depot San Diego, Fallbrook Weapons Station, Marine Corps Air Ground Combat Center Twentynine Palms, and Barstow Logistics Base.
In 1975, the credit union changed its name to U.S. Marine Corps West Federal Credit Union, and changed it again in 2001 to Pacific Marine Credit when it became open to the general public to join. It became Frontwave Credit Union in 2018.
By 2022, Frontwave had grown to have more than 117,000 members worldwide with 14 branch offices throughout Southern California and $1.2 billion in assets.
“We literally have members in every single state in the nation and numerous countries abroad in no small part because people who go to the Recruit Depot in San Diego automatically become part of our credit union,” said Birnie, a retired Marine. He said that about 65% of Frontwave’s members are in the military or retired from the military.

Frontwave Credit Union
Founded: 1952
Headquarters: Oceanside
CEO: Bill Birnie
Business: credit union
Members: 117,000
Assets: $1.2 billion
Social impact: Frontwave raises money for multiple charitable organizations and schools and sponsors a variety of youth programs.
Contact: 800-736-4500
Notable: Started to serve Camp Pendleton marines, sailors and civilians, Frontwave Credit Union has received the Department of the Navy’s Distinguished Credit Union of the Year award in five of the past seven years.

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