"Not for Profit, Not for Charity, But for Service". To provide sound financial services for our credit union family.
HAR-CO Service Expectations
Looking ahead to the next half century and beyond, the focus remains clearly on keeping HAR-CO the most helpful and most trusted banking option available for you, our members. What will always be very special are our people. People to not just hear but listen to your questions. People to offer financial options that are right for your needs, not ours. People who will take the time to say hello, who ask how you are and really want to know the answer.
Building on Tradition
There’s something special and welcoming about traditions. Tradition is the glue that binds the layers of our lives. It creates shared memories and a strong platform from which to build a successful future.
One of the traditions that make your credit union special is our volunteer board structure. Volunteers, good people who care enough to help other people, are what make credit unions unique. And at HAR-CO, it was one volunteer in particular, Mrs. Marita Watts, who helped start the credit union we enjoy today.
Mrs. Watts was the President of the Teacher’s Association of Harford County Public Schools. In 1955 when the county was recruiting teachers, she led the association and its Executive Board in recognizing the need for teachers to have access to financial services. Thanks to her efforts, on September 27, 1955 HAR-CO Maryland Federal Credit Union was born. At the start, HAR-CO’s services were basic, just simple deposits and loans. All teachers of Harford County Public Schools were invited to be members of the new credit union. Mrs. Watts’ classroom in the elementary wing of Aberdeen High School was HAR-CO’s “main office”. To help spread the word about the new services, HAR-CO Credit Union also recruited volunteer Building Representatives. These were teachers or administrators in each school who agreed to act as resource centers for HAR-CO, passing information about the credit union to their colleagues.
People helping people and working together is what made HAR-CO prosper. HAR-CO opened its first formal “home” office in 1965 literally in the home of two generous members, Frank and Ann Marie Navin. Ann Marie would later become HAR-CO’s first President. Together, Mr. and Mrs. Navin assembled more volunteers, established a paid operating staff, and over the next thirty years grew the credit union’s total managed assets from less than sixty thousand dollars to more than sixty million dollars.
In late 1973, HAR-CO experienced a growth spurt and moved in the former Smithson house at 30 Hickory Avenue in Bel Air. Four employees were hired and the house was renovated into five offices and a member service area. HAR-CO’s dedication to service continued to lead to growth, so in 1986 the credit union said goodbye to the little white house, actually raising it and moving it to its new location on Moores Mill Road. In its place, a new 5,300 square foot facility was constructed, including a drive-thru for member convenience.
Serving the Community
To further build on the tradition of supporting education in the community, in 1985 HAR-CO started a scholarship program to benefit one Harford County student every year, making a clear statement about the importance HAR-CO places on helping make student achievement a reality.
In 1995, the credit union doubled the size of its main office building. It also celebrated its 40th anniversary, and honored the retirement of President/CEO Ann Marie Navin after 30 years of dedication and success. In January, 1996, James J. Meehan was selected as the new President/CEO.
As assets continued to grow, HAR-CO was able to expand its community outreach and continued to grow the scholarship program so that HAR-CO could offer one scholarship at every high school in Harford County.
The closing years of the 20th century saw HAR-CO being recognized for its achievements far and wide. The credit union received both the Harford County Chamber of Commerce’s Countywide Business/Education Partner of the Year award, plus the Town of Bel Air’s Business of the Year Award. The credit union also became a founding member and sponsor of the National Academy of Finance at Edgewood High School, building on a long tradition of supporting and expanding educational opportunities in the county. HAR-CO finished the century in 1999 by opening two new branches to serve its growing membership.
The start of the 21st century saw HAR-CO continuing its firm and unwavering commitment to providing outstanding service and value to members. Taking that service to the broader community, HAR-CO received the Harford County Chamber of Commerce School/Business Partnership Award for Student Involvement, plus an award for Special Projects. Ultimately, HAR-CO’s serious commitment to the community earned national attention. In 2000 HAR-CO received the Credit Union National Association’s prestigious Dora Maxwell Award for Social Responsibility. It was also ranked #1 in Maryland and #4 in the United States by the National Youth Involvement Board for the number of classroom presentations conducted by a credit union in the year 1999-2000.
HAR-CO continued to increase its commitment to the education community throughout the county. A Summer Savings Program for all 10-month pay employees of Harford County Public Schools was introduced in 2002. HAR-CO also began sponsoring the new Homework 411 television show for students on Harford Cable Network. The credit union took a leadership role in the local business community, to establish the Harford Business Roundtable for Education (HBRT). The HBRT would work with the funding authorities to help shape the education of Harford’s future work force and leaders.