What does it take to be a member? Membership is open to those who live or work in Aurora. When you join, your initial deposit into your savings account is what makes you a member! After that, all credit union services are open to you. FVCU also has family membership. Since you are a member, your family members can also join.
By keeping the minimum deposit in your savings, once you are a member, you are always a member. Even if you move out of the area, you can still keep using credit union services.
For more than 100 years, credit unions have provided financial services to their members in the United States. Credit unions are unique financial institutions created not for profit, but to serve their members as credit cooperatives.
Credit Unions took root in Germany. Organized by Herman Schulze-Delitzsch and Friedrich Raiffeisen, these early credit unions became the model for today’s credit unions in the United States. These early credit unions brought the following to the United States credit unions:
- Democratic governance;
- Each member has one vote, regardless of the size of the their deposits;
- Member-elected board of directors; and
- Volunteer based.
The crop failure and famine of 1846 caused Schulze-Delitzsch to organize a cooperatively-owned mill and bakery that sold bread to its members at substantial savings. Schulze-Delitzsch took this cooperative notion to address the needs of credit, too. In 1850, he organized the first cooperative credit society, known as the people’s bank.
Raiffeisen sought to provide credit to farmers. He formed the Heddesdorf Credit Union in 1864 to help German farmers purchase livestock, equipment, seeds and other farming needs. In 1900, at the start of the 20th century, the credit union concept crossed the Atlantic to Levis, Quebec, where Alphonse Desjardins organized La Caisse Populaire de Levis. A court reporter, Desjardins became aware of loan sharks charging outrageous interest. In response, he organized this first credit union in North America to provide affordable credit to working class families.
Nearly a decade later, Desjardins helped a group of Franco-American Catholics in Manchester, New Hampshire, organize St. Mary’s Cooperative Credit Association. This first credit union in the United States opened its doors in 1909.
As a result of the efforts of Edward Filene, a merchant and philanthropist, and Pierre Jay, the Massachusetts Banking Commissioner, the Massachusetts Credit Union Act became law April 15, 1909. The Massachusetts law served as a basis for subsequent state credit union laws and the Federal Credit Union Act, which became law 25 years later.
During the 1920s, 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.
In 1920, Edward Filene hired Roy Bergengren, a poverty lawyer, to manage the Massachusetts Credit Union Association and to promote the development of credit unions. Within a year, Massachusetts chartered 19 new credit unions.
Encouraged by this success, Filene organized and Bergengren managed a national association—the Credit Union National Extension Bureau—to promote the establishment of credit unions throughout the United States. By 1925, 26 states had enacted laws to charter credit unions. By 1930, 32 states had adopted credit union laws with a total 1,100 credit unions.
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 credit union movement grew steadily in the 1940s and 1950s. By 1960, credit union membership amounted to more than 6 million individuals belonging to more than 10,000 federal credit unions.
U.S. credit unions grew tremendously during the 1970s. The number of credit union members more than doubled during the decade, and credit union assets tripled to more than $65 billion. Deregulation, increased flexibility in merger and field of membership criteria, and expanded member services characterized changes in the 1980s for U.S. credit unions. Early in the decade, high interest rates and unemployment brought supervisory changes and insurance losses, as well.
Today, the U.S. credit union system continues to overcome economic challenges, but the industry has also demonstrated its resilience. NCUA also continues to work, enhancing a credit union system that is safe, sound, secure, and serving more Americans than ever before.