What is a credit union?

Not-for-profit, Member-Owned

A credit union is a not-for-profit cooperative financial institution that is owned and controlled by its members, through the election of a volunteer Board of Directors.

The first Credit Union was formed in rural Germany in 1852. Farmers were denied loans by city bankers. Since the farmers were already part of agriculture cooperatives, they pooled their monies together to form a financial cooperative. In 1908 the concept was exported to Manchester, New Hampshire. 

Community First Credit Union was founded in 1961 by seven LOCAL teachers who were denied home loans by banks. In 2017, Community First merged with Mendo Lake Credit Union, also founded by LOCAL teachers.

Today, 104 million Americans are Members of credit unions. Total assets of domestic financial cooperatives are $1.3 trillion.

Other cooperatives you probably know:

  • Ace Hardware
  • Associated Press
  • Blue Diamond Growers
  • E.I.
  • FTD florists
  • Land O’ Lakes
  • REI
  • Ukiah Natural Foods CoOp
  • Welch’s Foods