Keith Stone has been at The Finest Federal Credit Union since day one, serving as president/CEO while the New York City-based credit union has grown from $2 million assets and zero members in January 2015 to $24 million assets and 6,800 members today.
It’s been an interesting ride for Stone, who was working at a credit union in Brooklyn in the late 2000s when he was approached by Paul McCormack, who was then deputy inspector for the New York Police Department (NYPD).
“He wanted to know why the New York City Police Department, the largest police force in the world, didn’t have its own credit union,” Stone recalls.
The economic crisis delayed the project, but The Finest Federal was officially chartered in January 2015 to serve members of the New York City and New York state law enforcement community.
It’s been a perfect fit for Stone, who sought out the credit union atmosphere since working at a community credit union while attending Brooklyn College. He spent time at various financial institutions before “This project came back into my life, and this is where I’m meant to be.”
Many of The Finest Federal’s members come via recruit orientations. New NYPD recruits need about $2,000 for equipment, so The Finest Federal offers a rookie equipment loan and gets the funds to the member in a couple business days.
“They have a lot of difficulties ahead. We want to make one thing easier,” Stone says. “Our board of directors is all active and retired NYPD personnel—a team of people who know how our field of membership lives, what they need, and how they should be served. That’s what dictates our business.”
Stone, who enjoys photography and spending time with his wife and four kids, believes smaller credit unions can’t be afraid to think big.
“I love what we do,” he says. “We have to continue helping people and making sure our members know they’re not just a number. We are a proud CDFI (Community Development Financial Institution) credit union and love having the opportunity to help our diverse law enforcement membership.”