The History of Credit Unions

Historical Overview of the Credit Union

A brief historical overview of the credit union throughout the decades:

  • 1901 – Alphonse Desjardins, a Canadian journalist, founded the first credit union in North America (today The Desjardins Group) and made the first deposit of 10 cents.
  • 1909 – The first American credit union, St. Mary’s Cooperative Credit Association, opened in Manchester, New Hampshire.
  • 1920 – Attorney Roy F. Bergengren introduced today’s credit union structure.
  • 1934 – President Franklin D. Roosevelt signed the Federal Credit Union Act into law.
  • 1942 – The Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) assumed federal supervision of credit unions.
  • 1951 – The Revenue Act of 1951 granted federal and state-chartered credit unions exemptions from the federal income tax.
  • 1960 – By the end of the year, 6.1 million members belonged to 9,905 federal credit unions.
  • 1971 – President Richard Nixon established the seal design of The National Credit Union Administration seal design. It remained in place until its redesign in 2017.
  • 1984 – A commemorative stamp was issued to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Federal Credit Union Act.
  • 1998 – President Bill Clinton signed the Credit Union Membership Access Act into law.
  • 2007 – The financial collapse and the Great Recession threatened credit union membership and vitality.
  • 2017 – President Donald Trump signed an executive order that established the new official seal for the NCUA.