NEFCU changed its name to Jovia Financial Credit Union, effective Monday.
The Westbury-based credit union said it's been weighing a name change for more than two years, because it said the NEFCU name was outdated and confusing to prospective members.
NEFCU is an acronym for Nassau Educators Federal Credit Union, which became the credit union's name in 1981. In 2006, NEFCU became its official name.
The credit union's reach has expanded since it opened in 1938 exclusively to serve Valley Stream school employees. Ten years later it expanded to serve all public, private and parochial school employees in Nassau County. It has long since changed its charter to bring in anyone who lives, works, worships or attends school on Long Island.
Enter Jovia (JO-vee-ah), derived from the word jovial. The credit union said the new name is intended to connote optimism, trust and “Banking on the bright side."
The credit union started with about 1,200 possible names, and whittled it down quickly, in part, via trademark searches, said John Deieso, president and CEO at Jovia.
"Jovia stood out to us because of the friendliness of it," Deieso said. "It's a way of joy. We wanted to find a name that matches the friendliness and the ease of doing business with us."
The credit union has been messaging to its 198,000 members that a name change was coming, added Renu Dalessandro, chief marketing officer at Jovia.
Jovia, which has 19 branches, expects to cross 200,000 members by mid-October. The credit union plans to open its 20th branch, in Merrick, later this year.