1844 

The Rochdale Society of Equitable Pioneers is founded by a group of impoverished weavers in Lancashire, England, who pool their money to start a small cooperative grocery store. Because it was the first co-op to pay a dividend to its members, the Rochdale Society is considered the precursor of the modern cooperative movement, which includes credit unions.

1909

The first credit union in the U.S. is founded in Manchester, New Hampshire. Like Rochdale, it began with struggling textile workers. They worked with Monsignor Pierre Hevey, pastor of their church; Joseph Boivin , a local lawyer; and Alphonse Desjardins, founder of the credit union movement in Canada, to start St. Mary’s Cooperative Credit Association, now known as St. Mary’s Bank. The credit union was based in Boivin’s home, which now houses America’s Credit Union Museum. (www.acumuseum.org)

1910

The first credit union in Massachusetts, the Industrial Credit Union, opens in Boston, a year after the Commonwealth passes the first credit union law in the United States

1915

Rhode Island’s first credit union, La Credit Union de Notre Dame de Central Falls (now Navigant Credit Union), opens.

1916

The federal income tax is enacted. Credit unions are exempt from this tax because they are “organized and operated for mutual purposes and without profit.”

1919

The Credit Union League of Massachusetts, the country’s first trade association for credit unions, is founded.

1934

President Franklin D. Roosevelt signs the Federal Credit Union Act, which establishes a national system to create and oversee federal credit unions, allows for credit unions to be state or federally chartered, and allows them to be established in states without credit union laws.
The Credit Union National Association (CUNA), a national trade organization, is founded.
The Credit Union Association of Rhode Island is founded.

1948

The first Credit Union Day is celebrated. Now known as International Credit Union Day, it is still celebrated each year on the third Thursday in October.

1954

The New Hampshire Credit Union League is founded.

1970

Legislation is enacted creating the National Credit Union Administration (NCUA), the independent government supervisory agency for credit unions, and the National Credit Union Share Insurance Fund (NCUSIF), the agency that insures credit union deposits.

1996

The U.S. Court of Appeals rules, in a lawsuit brought by the banking industry, that a credit union may not add members outside its core affiliate group. Credit unions launch the Campaign for Consumer Choice, urging support of a law reversing the decision, the Credit Union Membership Access Act.

1998

President Bill Clinton signs the Credit Union Membership Access Act into law.

2015 

The Cooperative Credit Union Association, formed from a merger of the Massachusetts and New Hampshire Credit Union Leagues and the Credit Union Association of Rhode Island, begins operation.