Credit Union History

A credit union is a nonprofit, cooperative financial institution owned and run by its members. Organized to serve, democratically controlled credit unions provide their members with a safe place to save and borrow at reasonable rates. Members pool their funds to make loans to one-another. The volunteer board that runs each credit union is elected by the members. Not for profit, not for charity, but for service is our credit union motto.

Credit unions are not new. Originating in Europe, credit union history began in this country when the first credit union was formed in Manchester, New Hampshire, in 1909. Today, over 10,000 credit unions with over $480 billion in assets serve more than 79 million people in the United States. More and more people join credit unions every year and they are pleased with the service. Credit unions have rated No. 1 in customer satisfaction at financial institutions for 10 years according to the American Banker Newspaper's annual customer satisfaction survey.

To join a credit union, you must be eligible for membership. Each institution decides who it will serve. Most credit unions are organized to serve people in a particular community, group or groups of employees, or members of an organization or association.

From their early origins, credit unions were unique depository institutions created, not for profit, but to serve members as credit cooperatives. The earliest financial cooperatives date back to the beginning of the 19th century in England. However, in the mid-1800's Germany was the home of the first credit unions as we know them today:

  • Democratically governed
  • Each member having one vote
  • Member-elected board of directors