U.S. Senate FCU broke ground on a new headquarters in Alexandria, Va. Wednesday, a building named after their longest serving board member and Senate staff icon Bertie Bowman. The Bertie Bowman building is expected to be open by 2021.
Bowman, who was in attendance at the event, is the longest serving African-American on Capitol Hill, having started as a janitor and rising to hearing coordinator for the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.
Bowman has served on the credit union’s board continuously since 1975, including two terms as chairman.
“When we started to realize we’d need to name this building, we thought of who would be best, and Bertie was at the top of that list. We took it to the board, and it took them about a millisecond to concur,” said Christopher Shunk, director emeritus. “Bertie’s the conscience of this credit union, particularly due to his work on fair lending here, he’s the guiding light for this credit union and he’s our moral compass. Who better to name this building after?”
Bowman, who said he’s operated throughout his career by ensuring focus on “the little guy,” says he is incredibly humbled by the decision.
“I was completely lost for words, which no one who knows me ever thought possible,” he said.
Board Chair Ileana Garcia said Senate FCU was searching for a building that had room for a branch, their headquarters and had room to grow, and “our vision and dreams have been realized” with the opportunities of the new building.
Senate FCU began when nine Senate employees pooled their resources to charter the credit union to provide financial services to Senate employees. It will celebrate its 85th anniversary in 2020.
President/CEO Tim Anderson said in the last 25 years alone the credit union has gone from $30 million in assets to nearly $1 billion.
Shunk said Senate FCU’s purpose for existing is to “embrace each member’s unique financial need” and that they look forward to expanding the range of services they offer to the community in Alexandria and beyond.