Credit Union History

A History of Credit Unions

Credit unions hold a unique place in the financial world. They are not-for-profit cooperatives owned and controlled by members, for members. They exist to serve members by promoting thrift, offering financial services and providing credit at reasonable rates.  

Through the Years*

1908. The first U.S. credit union opens its doors to serve members.
1909. First U.S. credit union is chartered in New Hampshire. The first credit union law is passed in Massachusetts.
1934. Federal Credit Union Act passes. The Credit Union National Association (CUNA) forms.
1937. Congress passes the federal tax exemption.
1970. Congress creates the National Credit Union Administration (NCUA) and National Credit Union Share Insurance Fund.
1980. Legislation authorizing share drafts is signed by President Jimmy Carter, following the Save Our Share Drafts campaign.
1991. Operation Grassroots rally is held on the National Mall in Washington, D.C.
1996. Credit Union Campaign for Consumer Choice is launched after the D.C. Court of Appeals rules the Federal Credit Union Act doesn’t permit multiple common bonds within one field of membership.
1998. The Credit Union Membership Access Act (CUMAA or H.R. 1151) passes and is signed into law by President Bill Clinton.
2008. Credit unions continue to serve members of all means during the U.S. financial system meltdown.
2011. NCUA launches, a website that provides consumers of all ages with in-depth personal finance information. 


*Source: National Credit Union Association,