Credit Unions Brief History
The history of credit unions began in Germany in 1852. The first credit union in the United States is called St. Mary’s Bank and is located in Manchester NH. It began in 1908 and is still going strong today.
During the 1920’s, the U.S. credit union movement became increasingly popular. Families had more money to save and could afford products like automobiles and washing machines. They, however, needed a source of inexpensive credit to purchase these goods. The popularity of credit unions grew because commercial banks and savings institutions generally showed limited interested in offering such consumer loans (from NCUA’s History of Credit Unions).
Credit Unions are different from banks in that they have:
- Democratic governance;
- Each member has one vote, regardless of the size of the member’s deposits;
- Member-elected board of directors; and
- Volunteer based.
What does this mean? Credit unions are run by the Members for the Members, not for stock holders.
In 1934, President Franklin Delano Roosevelt signed the Federal Credit Union Act into law, creating a national system to charter and to supervise federal credit unions (The original credit unions were regulated by state authorities).
In early 1934 several employees from the New Orleans District Corps of Engineers came together in the desire to create a place where they could save their money safely and securely and have the opportunity to be granted credit if needed. What they ended up doing was creating the 5th federally chartered credit union in the United States (approved October 1934) and they called it New Orleans Second District Engineers Federal Credit Union.
Today that Credit Union is known as First Castle Federal Credit Union. We are the second oldest federally chartered credit union still in existence. We have grown to not only serve our Corps of Engineers members but as of October 2007 also all of St. Tammany Parish as well. In addition to our original office in New Orleans we also have locations in Covington and Slidell. We also belong to the shared branch network and have a suite of mobile services that give convenience to all. We are 80 years strong and getting better every day!
We welcome all of you to give us a try and find out for yourselves what the Credit Union and specifically the First Castle Credit Union difference is.
Kirk Arnold, CEO
First Castle FCU