From the Great Depression to the pandemic, credit unions stand as a constant source of support in times of needWritten by Meg Kramig
If you start looking around at the founding dates of credit unions around the United States, you’ll notice many of the oldest ones have something in common – they were founded during the Great Depression.
Why? Because back then, the big banks weren’t giving ANYONE a break. John needs a loan to start his farm? Too bad. Mary and Jacob need a mortgage loan so they can put down roots and start their family? Ain’t happening. And they were doing this to EVERYONE.
Understandably, people were starting to get frustrated. So much so, that they decided to take it into their own hands.
These citizens found out that by pooling their money together with their neighbors and co-workers, they could provide basic savings and borrowing options to EACH OTHER. Completely cutting the banks out of the equation.
By 1929, 32 states had adopted laws that allowed for the creation of credit unions, which resulted in the creation of over 1,000 new credit unions. By 1934, the Federal Credit Union Act had passed, permitting the formation of federally chartered credit unions in states that didn’t yet have a credit union law. That policy remains in place today.
During the Great Depression, these newly formed credit union remained a constant source of support for their members, helping them get loans and savings options when banks just plain wouldn’t. And so their reputation grew, and more and more credit unions were formed.
The Great Depression isn’t the only economic slump where credit unions have proven their policies of people over profit. They also offered more help during The Great Recession and have been a known support during natural disasters.
This trend is continuing to now. During the pandemic, credit unions have been helping by waiving fees, stopping repossessions, halting payments, deferring payments, and SO MUCH MORE.
Why? Because its their mission to support Main Street over Wall Street. Its why they were founded, and its how they remain. And they are darn proud of it – just as they should be.
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