The first credit union was established in Germany in the mid-1800s. Since the beginning, credit unions have operated on self-service principles in order to maintain democracy and equality among members and workers. Credit union pioneer, Hermann Schulze-Delitzsch, developed the bond of association to preserve these values of honesty and commonwealth, which is still currently present in credit unions around the world.
Throughout the rest of the 1800s, credit unions began to appear in other countries. The first credit union n Belgium broke ground in 1864, and the following year, Milan was home to Italy’s first people’s bank, founded by Luigi Luzzati. Less than a decade later, England’s Co-operative Wholesale Society created a loan and retail deposit division that eventually became The Co-operative Bank still present today. After 6 years, the Groupe Banque Populair spent four years creating Credit Mutuel in France. For the rest of the 1800s, several credit unions, otherwise referred to as “people’s banks,” broke ground throughout Europe and other Eastern countries, including India.
After Europe began this banking movement, North America started to pay attention. In January 1901, Canada opened their first credit union in Quebec with no more than a 10-cent deposit. St. Mary’s Bank of Manchester, New Hampshire was the first credit union to open in the United States. St. Mary’s Cooperative Credit Association opened in 1908 and is now home to America’s Credit Union Museum. After the initial start-up in the early 1900s, the United States has developed a strong credit union base and continues to grow at a gradual pace.
Credit Unions continue to maintain the same principles they were founded on: democracy, honesty and loyalty. To become a member of your local Harlingen and Brownsville credit union, contact Valley Federal Credit Union by calling (956) 546-3108.