Timeline of the History of the Credit Union Movement
 
1800s
 
1844
  • Credit union movement originates in Europe with the Rochdale Society of Equitable Pioneers
1846
  • Famine in Germany; Hermann Schulze-Delitzsch organizes a co-op mill, bakery, and other cooperative credit endeavors
1850
  • Friedrich Wilhelm Raiffeisen establishes "people's banks" in Germany
  • The world's first credit society is established in Germany; within nine years, it is joined by 182 other "people's banks" serving 18,000 members.
1864
  • Heddesdorf Credit Union is established in Germany along the lines of Raiffeisen co-ops
1866
  • First cooperative bank in Italy opens
1897
  • Due to his growing concern with usury, Alphonse Desjardins begins research and correspondence with European credit union founders 
1900s
 
1900
  • Alphonse Desjardins organizes La Caisse Populaire in Levis, Canada – the first North American credit union
1907
  • Russell Sage Foundation is established in New York City
1909
  • La Caisse Populaire Ste. Marie (St. Mary's Bank) in New Hampshire becomes the first credit union in the United States
  • Massachusetts passes the first credit union law in the United States
1910s
 
1910
  • Arthur Ham appointed first director of the Russell Sage Foundation’s Division of Remedial Loans following a 14-month study of common loan practices in New York City
1911
  • Cary W. Hayes is hired by the Russell Sage Foundation to conduct an investigation of “typical industrial savings and loan schemes,” which results in the Foundation recognizing the worth of credit unions
1912
  • Hayes writes a letter to  Desjardins requesting assistance in writing a credit union law in New York State and referencing the success of credit unions in Massachusetts 
  • Hayes and John Glenn of the Russell Sage Foundation travel to Canada to meet Desjardins and discuss a law
  • Desjardins travels to New York City to assist the Russell Sage Foundation in developing a credit union bill
1913
  • Credit Union Bill for the State of New York is drafted, establishing nonprofit cooperatives and presenting rules and regulations to lay out the framework for credit unions
  • Correspondence continues between Ham and Desjardins regarding refinements and improvements to the bill, which  eventually becomes known as the Eisner-Pollack Bill
  • Feb. 5 letter between Ham and Desjardins outlines the principles of credit unions
  • The Eisner-Pollack Bill is introduced along with the Cole-Roosevelt Bill, providing for agricultural co-op banks
  • Eisner-Pollack becomes law on May 17; New York becomes the second state with a credit union law
1914
  • Employees of the Bing and Bing real estate firm in New York City form the Speedwell Credit Union, the first in New York State
  • Two other credit unions are organized in the state
1915
  • Eleven charters are issued for credit unions 
1916
  • Municipal Credit Union is formed for city employees, and today remains one of the oldest existing credit union in the United States
1917
  • New York State Association of Credit Unions (NYSACU) is formed: This early organization, whose formation is driven by the Municipal Credit Union, is a loose body lacking a strong common function or purpose
1920s
 
1921
  • NYSACU is reorganized on May 9 at an organizational meeting: New goals and functions are defined for the Association, which represented 19 credit unions at the time
1922
  • Credit unions in New York State flourish: More than 100 exist with more than $460,000 in combined assets
1924
  • A special meeting on October 28 is called when NYSACU learns that the Russell Sage Foundation will discontinue financial support: A sliding dues scale is proposed by Max E. Meyers, whereby credit unions pay $5-$50, depending on size
  • First annual NYSACU banquet
1925
  • Russell Sage Foundation discontinues financial support for NYSACU
  • NYSACU opens its office at West 42nd St., New York City
1926
  • Membership in NYSACU dwindles to fewer than 10; the Association again re-evaluates its goals
1927
  • Following reorganization, membership rises to more than 30 credit unions
  • The New York State Association of Credit Unions (NYSACU) changes its name to New York State Credit Union League (NYSCUL) and amends its constitution
1928
  • NYSCUL begins to investigate the possibility of providing life insurance to its members and arranges a master contract with Aetna
  • NYS Attorney General Albert Ottinger investigates usury in New York State, resulting in pro-credit union recommendations
1929
  • The Great Depression begins
1930s
  • No credit unions in New York State liquidate during the Great Depression; U.S. credit unions weather the period well, due to stability not offered by traditional banks
  • Examination of credit union loan applications leads to the discovery that many loans are for medical procedures;  in collaboration with New York City Mayor Fiorello LaGuardia,  the Health Insurance Plan of Greater New York is established 
1930
  • The thousandth U.S. credit union forms
  • A national credit union information exchange is created to minimize delinquent accounts and eliminate bad accounts
1932
  • The New York State Banking Department limits credit unions to groups with strong common bonds or small residential areas; "open" credit unions are disallowed
1933
  • NYSCUL Chapters in Albany, Brooklyn, Buffalo, , New York, and Rochester are established to promote cooperation and facilitate the exchange of ideas
  • The Blanket Bond established and made available to credit unions for insurance; the bond protects insured parties against coverage against fraud, robbery, etc.
1934
  • President Franklin D. Roosevelt signs the Federal Credit Union Act,: This Act, building out of an extensive grassroots campaign, gives credit unions the option to be state or federally chartered and allows credit unions to be established in states without credit union laws
  • Credit Union National Association (CUNA) is formed at the Estes Convention in Colorado; attendees include a delegation from New York State that comprises prominent members of the movement, including Dora Maxwell
1935
  • CUNA Mutual Group is founded
1936
  • NYSCUL forms affiliation with CUNA:
    NYSCUL: Nearly 400 member credit unions with $9.5 million in assets and 63,000 members
    CUNA: 170 member credit unions with $8 million in assets and 55,000 members
  • New York State Governor Lehman  joins the New York State employees’ credit union – first state governor to Join a credit union
1940s
  • Generated as a result of inflation fears, Regulation W limits the amount of time borrowers have to repay loans. Savings growth diminishes and loans are declined; many credit unions liquidate
  • Credit unions sell war bonds to aid the war effort; New York State credit unions are recognized nationally for their efforts
  • Due to male leaders enlisting to fight, women take a more active role in credit union management and leadership
  • After the war, credit unions rebound:
    New York State’s credit unions by 1950 number 790 with $67.6 million in assets and 364,824 members
1948
  • On October 21, the first Credit Union Day commemorates 100 years of credit unions. This date eventually becomes known as International Credit Union Day 
1950s
  • Legislation to form a central banking system for credit unions fails
1951
  • A bill to tax credit unions fails
1955
  • A second bill to tax credit unions fails
1956
  • NYSCUL launches CU Vues newsletter, predecessor of CUC Connection
1958
  • NYSCUL purchases building to house its headquarters, at 204 Fifth Ave. , New York City
1959
  • NYSCUL establishes a stabilization services program, known as the Stabilization Fund, to provide security to credit union members in the event of liquidation
  • Largely due to the efforts of the people of New York State, HR 8305 passes and is signed by President Dwight D. Eisenhower. The bill largely rewrites and updates the Federal Credit Union Act and authorizes federal credit unions to cash checks for members
  • NYSCUL establishes the Sidney Stahl Memorial Foundation, a charitable arm of the League tasked with assisting New York State credit union volunteers with their educational and training needs
1960s
  • Trend: Although fewer credit unions are founded, overall membership increases
  • NYSCUL shifts focus to training, education, services and products
1961
  • NYSCUL’s success necessitates the adoption of a corporate structure. NYSCUL Inc. is formed.
1963
  • President John F. Kennedy signs the Credit Union Bill into law, providing federal credit unions with greater operating flexibility
1970s
  • NYSCUL votes to turn Empire State Central Credit Union into a "credit unions' credit union" to service inter-union loans; converting to a corporate credit union allows credit unions to pool and trade assets
1970
  • On March 10, President Richard M. Nixon signs legislation creating the National Credit Union Administration (NCUA) to charter and oversee federal credit unions. The National Credit Union Share Insurance Fund (NCUSIF) is also established to insure credit union deposits, replacing the Stabilization Fund
  • NYSCUL fiftieth annual convention is held in Kiamesha Lake. NYSCUL votes to move its headquarters to Albany, NY.
1974
  • NYSCUL’s headquarters begins operations at 1211 Western Ave., Albany
1977
  • Empire Corporate Federal Credit Union is formed
1980s
1980
  • President Jimmy Carter signs the Depository Institutions Deregulation and Monetary Control Act; as a result, credit union operations  become more complex. Credit unions become more dependent on NYSCUL, as they require increasing levels of compliance assistance
1982
  • NCUA is amended to allow insolvent or near-insolvent credit unions to merge or transfer some assets or liabilities to another federally insured credit union and to allow the affected credit union to diversify by enrolling "select employer groups"
1983
  • NYSCUL moves into the first building specifically built to house its staff: 2 Wall St., Albany. The credit union organizations housed there eventually become known as the Credit Union Center
1985
  • NYSCUL President Charles Whitney's progressive agenda leads to expanded services and products for credit unions
1986
  • League Marketing Group is renamed  CUC Services
  • Endorsements are replaced by business partnerships made only with businesses that provide services or products that directly relate to credit union operations
1987
  • CUC Mortgage Corporation is founded to allow member unions to participate cost effectively in the mortgage market
1989
  • North Carolina banks and the American Bankers Association sue NCUA for violating the 1934 law by allowing non-employees of AT&T to join an AT&T family credit union. The case is repeatedly dismissed by the courts until 1996
1990s
 
1991
  • For Operation Grassroots Rally, on Feb. 28, 15,000 people (including 1,000 from New York State) gather in Washington, D.C. to combat banker attacks
1992
  • CU24 ATM network is established, and UsNet is founded to provide shared branching to credit unions
1995
  • Sidney Stahl Memorial Foundation is refocused and renamed the New York Credit Union Foundation (NYCUF); now also emphasizes consumer financial education to young people
1996
  • NYSCUL moves its headquarters to 19 British American Blvd., Latham, NY
  • On July 30, U.S. Court of Appeals rules in favor of bankers in NCUA lawsuit: The  decision forbids federal credit unions from adding members not having core common bond; NCUA ignores rule and asks for the case to be reheard; bankers file a second suit to invalidate 1982 policy
  • NCUA, CUNA and credit unions join in nationwide Credit Union Campaign for Consumer Choice to gain a Supreme Court hearing regarding field of membership
  • In December, injunction is partially overturned, allowing credit unions to add members from select employers
1998
  • President Bill Clinton signs HR 1151 into law
2000s
 
2003
  • Check Clearing for the 21st Century Act (H.R. 1474) simplifies the process of clearing checks by transforming them into electronic format
  • President George W. Bush signs the Fair and Accurate Transaction (FACT) Act, which includes a number of provisions to curb the growing problem of identity theft
2005
  • Credit unions succeed in their push for bankruptcy reform; President Bush signs reform legislation into law after a nearly decade-long fight
2007
  • Statewide "Credit Unions for You" awareness campaign launches with a series of television spots and an interactive website
  • Credit Union Regulatory Improvements Act (CURIA, H.R. 1537) is introduced to modernize credit union capital and net worth standards, increase the business lending cap and make needed modifications to credit union activities, governance and oversight. These regulations are still pursued by credit unions nationwide
  • New York Credit Union Foundation receives the Hobart H. Conover Friend of Business Education Award for supporting business and marketing education in New York schools
2008
  • NYSCUL announces its new name: Credit Union Association of New York (CUANY)
  • CUANY relocates to a facility shared by Members United Corporate Federal Credit Union to realize more cost savings and deepen the partnership with Members United
2010s
 
2011
  • Bank Transfer Day is created by Kristen Christian, who invites friends to transfer their accounts to credit unions from banks by Nov. 5; between Sept. 29 and Nov. 2, credit unions receive $4.5 billion and 440,000 new members 
2014
  • CUANY announces its new name: New York Credit Union Association (NYCUA)
2017
  • The New York Credit Union Association celebrates its 100-year anniversary
 

Resources

CUNA
NYCUA
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