Today marks the 85th anniversary of the signing of the Federal Credit Union Act, which allowed for the chartering and establishment of federal 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 Act came about as a result of the Great Depression, when unemployment ran high, and America needed to support its workers and farmers.
“Today, we commemorate the signing of the Federal Credit Union Act by President Franklin D. Roosevelt, which occurred on this day in June 1934,” NCUA Board Chairman Rodney Hood said in a statement. “Eighty-five years later, federally insured credit unions are stronger than ever, offering a variety of financial service products, including mortgages, consumer loans, and business loans, to tens of millions of Americans. We are looking back today to celebrate a historic achievement. But the more important job is to keep our eyes on the future, and on where this industry is headed.”
The law—which grew out of an extensive grassroots campaign led by Edward Filene, Pierre Jay and Roy Bergengren—was created to give credit unions the option to be state or federally chartered, and allowed credit unions to be established in states without credit union laws.
The language of the bill was modeled off of earlier legislation developed by credit union pioneers Franz Hermann Schulze-Delitzsch in Germany and Alphonse Desjardins in Canada.
In New York, credit unions were formally established in 1913, with the passage of the state credit union law.
Currently, there are approximately 340 credit unions in New York state serving nearly 6 million members, with combined assets of over $83 billion. The vast majority of those credit unions—about 325—are federally chartered. However, as the state charter continues to improve and evolve, more credit unions are considering the benefits of the state charter.
“The signing of the Federal Credit Union Act was a major milestone that marked a turning point in the history of U.S. credit unions,” said New York Credit Union Association President/CEO William J. Mellin. “With the establishment of the federal charter, credit unions were able to go on to grow into the national movement that we know today. And here in New York, thanks to our strong state charter, credit unions are fortunate to have the option of choosing the charter type that most benefits their members.”