To continue enjoying all the features of Navy Federal Online, please use a compatible browser. You can confirm your browser capability here.

Every afternoon, Gil Petrosino, 84, heads out for a walk in Lake Elsinore, a small town north of San Diego. A Veteran of two tours in the U.S. Air Force, Gil often stops to chat with his neighbors, earning him the nickname “Mr. Mayor.”

One afternoon this winter, Gil went out for his usual walk—but didn’t come home. 

At first, his wife, Sherry, thought he might be taking a leisurely look at the holiday lights, or perhaps he was lost in another long conversation. But she began to worry as darkness fell. She jumped in the car and drove around town looking for him—but no luck. She headed home, but didn’t find him there, either.

Just then, she noticed a small crowd gathering down the road. To her relief, Gil was at the center, flanked by a police car and the actual mayor of the town, Natasha Johnson.

Town Mayor Helps “Mr. Mayor”

Mayor Johnson had been on her way to the grocery store when she noticed Gil. She recognized him from her days as manager of a nearby Navy Federal Credit Union branch, where the Petrosinos have been members for many years. 

Gil appeared lost and confused, so Natasha—who now works on Navy Federal’s branch marketing team—pulled over and asked him if he was okay. He said he was—but couldn’t remember his name or address and didn’t have identification on him. Natasha couldn’t recall his last name, either, so she called the police to see if they could help. 

She waited with him, comforted him and tried to spark his memory, describing their encounters in town and at their local Navy Federal branch. She even reached out to her Navy Federal colleagues in the hopes that they might be able to help. 

Sometime later, after lots of discussion and questioning, Gil had a “moment of clarity”—common among patients in the early stages of dementia—and remembered his last name and birthday, which enabled Natasha to search for his address and help reunite him with his wife. Natasha’s service didn’t end there. A few weeks later, she sent Gil a set of dog tags and a silver ID bracelet. 

“I can’t explain how grateful I am to Natasha and the Navy Federal team for their service and support, for their gifts and, ultimately, for bringing Gil home,” said Sherry, a Navy Federal member since 2012. “I know he’s safer now as he enters this new chapter of life—and I look forward to many more walks together, with me and his new bracelet on his arm.”

Exceptional, Personalized Service

The Petrosinos’ story illustrates the kind of exceptional, personalized service that Navy Federal delivers day in and day out.

“Our branch team members go above and beyond to provide extraordinary service to our members,” said Keith Hoskins (U.S. Navy Retired), who as Executive Vice President of Branch Operations, oversees member service through the credit union’s worldwide network of branches and ATMs.

In this role, Hoskins leads more than 5,000 team members across 10 countries with the sole focus of providing a personalized experience and ensuring members’ financial health and security. “They take the time to get to know them and provide them a level of service that goes beyond banking,” Hoskins said.

Louis Chapa, a Navy Federal branch manager in East Asia, agrees. “Our members are the mission, and that means recognizing the history of their journey,” he said. The personal touch “means a great deal” to our members.

As Navy Federal continues to invest in digital banking,* surveys show its 13-million-plus members also highly value the “personal touch” they receive at the credit union’s 355 brick-and-mortar locations. Indeed, in-person branch visits are rising. Last year, members visited Navy Federal branch locations more than 22 million times, representing 770,000 more service experiences than 2022. Surveys show that nearly all (92 percent) who visited last year were “highly satisfied” with their experience.

Member satisfaction with Navy Federal’s trademark “relationship-based” banking is one reason it continues to expand branch offerings, Hoskins said, noting that the credit union is adding at least nine more branch locations this year.

“As a not-for-profit credit union, we strive to do what's right for our membership, so we can bring real value to each and every member,” he said. “It's a matter of integrity and simply the right thing to do. We offer an amazing digital banking platform but know that some of our members want to walk inside one of our branches to speak to our member service representatives face to face.”

The “Credit Union Advantage”

Navy Federal’s not-for-profit business model prioritizes member service over shareholder profits, and enables the credit union to set itself apart through exceptional, personal service, Hoskins said. “Our employees routinely go above and beyond for our members. We call that the ‘credit union advantage.’”

In honor of Military Appreciation Month, the credit union is donating $102,000 to Operation Gratitude, a nonprofit organization that provides Americans the opportunity to express gratitude to military members and first responders. The donation will help pay for paracord (aka “survival”) lanyards and thank you cards for servicemembers. 

This donation comes on top of many others the credit union makes throughout the year to organizations that serve and support the military community, including a recent round of grants to groups supporting the U.S. Army, Navy, Marines, Air and Space Forces and Coast Guard. Navy Federal branches also support local servicemembers, Veterans and their families through donation drives in partnership with area nonprofits.

“Our goal is to always be ready and available to serve those who are serving,” Hoskins said. “The Petrosinos—and all members of the military community—consistently receive exceptional service inside—and even, on occasion, outside—our branch doors, and we take great pride in that. Our members are the mission.” 


*Message and data rates may apply. Terms and Conditions are available.

This content is intended to provide general information and shouldn't be considered legal, tax or financial advice. It's always a good idea to consult a tax or financial advisor for specific information on how certain laws apply to your situation and about your individual financial situation.