1844 Rochdale Pioneers organize world's first cooperative, a purchasing cooperative, in Rochdale, England.
1850 Hermann Schulze-Delitzsch organizes first cooperative banks in Prussian cities. The banks serve mostly artisans.
1854 Friedrich Wilhelm Raiffeisen organizes first cooperative banks in rural areas along the Rhine. They serve mostly rural farm towns and were first to dengine a "field of membership" and basic operating principles as we know them today.
1900 Alphonse Desjardins organizes first credit union (caisse populaire) in North America at Levi, Quebec, after reporting on discussions in the Quebec Parliament regarding usury.
1907 Edward A. Filene visits Calcutta, India, and sees a credit co-op for the first time. He takes the idea back to the United States.
1908 St.Mary's Bank - La Caisse Populaire de Ste. Marie - is the first CU organized in the U.S. (Manchester, New Hampshire). Desjardins helped Monsignor Hevy organize the CU among members of a French-speaking American Catholic parish.
1909 Filene decides to use the term "credit union", rather than cooperative bank, to describe credit cooperatives.
1914 Massachusetts Credit Union Association is organized by Filene and state banking commissioner Pierre Jay (individuals and credit unions could join). It was to serve as a template for starting and maintaining CUs. It was a credit union, pilot, and league all rolled into one.
1920 MCUA is reorganized into the Mass CU League, the country's first CU league.
1921 Credit Union National Extension Bureau (CUNEB) is formed by Filene and Roy F.Bergengren. Filene realizes that only through the hard work of organizing will a CU movement succeed. It was located at 5 Park Square in Boston.
1921 - 34 Bergengren, CUNEB staff and volunteers, organize CUs and leagues and lobby for enabling legislation in states. "Get the laws," organize CUs, develop state leagues, and institute a national credit union trade association is Bergengren's mission. This 14-year project took him and his assistant, Agnes Gartland, and a corps of volunteers, to every state in the nation.
  • Finding resistance in some state legislatures to CU laws, Bergengren and Filene see the need for a federal law. The Federal Credit Union Act passes in June and is signed by President Franklin Delano Roosevelt.
  • Thirty state leagues come together at the Estes Park Conference in Colorado in August to form the Credit Union National Association (CUNA).
1935 At its first board meeting in Kansas City, CUNA creates an insurance company and gives the company its name. Thus the CUNA Mutual Society began providing insurance services for credit unions and their members, first with individual credit life insurance, and later in the year with Loan Protection (LP) insurance.
1936 CUNA forms CUNA Supply Cooperative to provide forms and other administrative services.
1937 In the process of becoming licensed in the state of Indiana, CUNA Mutual Society is renamed "CUNA Mutual Insurance Society" at the request of the state insurance commissioner. Also, at the request of the movement to find a way to incent more savings by members, CUNA Mutual invented Life Savings (LS) insurance.
1940 CUNA agrees to accept for membership any league formed in the western hemisphere. Canadian provincial leagues are the first to join.
1939 - 45 During WWII, U.S. Treasury Regulation W, an anti-inflationary measure, causes a dramatic decrease in the number of CUs and members in the U.S. In Canada, the period experiences increased interest in CUs and caisse populaires, and growth in both CUs and members.
1945 - 54 After the war, U.S. and Canadian movements experience a large spurt in credit union and membership growth. Interest in CUs grows outside North America, especially Jamaica, where CUNA Mutual began providing LP/LS insurance in 1950.
1948 CUNA and CUNA Mutual boards of directors inaugurate first International Credit Union Day (October). Bergengren attempted such a move in the twenties to be observed on the birthday of Ben Franklin, the apostle of thrift. It lasted one year.
1949 After several years of hard work by CUNA and the leagues, President Harry S. Truman is persuaded to come to Madison to dedicate the headquarters of CUNA, CUNA Mutual, and CUNA Supply Cooperative. On May 12, Truman Iays the cornerstone of the Filene House.
1954 Because of increasing worldwide interest in CUs, CUNA establishes its World Extension Department (WED).
1955 Credit unions outside North America increase from 700 in 1950 to more than 3,000 and reach assets of US$55 million.
1960 CUMIS Insurance Society, Inc. is formed by its parent company, CUNA Mutual Insurance Society, to provide property and casualty lines of insurance.
  • CUNA's Global Projects Office opens in Washington, DC.
  • CUNA Mutual establishes a full-time International Department.
1964 Three forums are created within CUNA:U.S., Canada, and the rest of the world. They would meet independently prior to the CUNA meetings. (Consisted of 77 leagues.)
1966 Australian Federation of Credit Union Leagues is formed.
1967 First Youth Round Table is held. It evolved into today's National Youth Involvement Board and its annual National Youth Conference.
1968 African Confederation of Credit Unions (ACOSCA) is formed.
  • Latin American Confederation (COLAC) is formed.
  • CUMIS introduces the Full Discovery Bond for credit unions. Two years later, CUNA officially endorses the Bond.Today, 96% of U.S. CUs are covered by the Bond and its various endorsements.
1970 World Council of Credit Unions (WOCCU) is formed. CUNA is the U.S. member confederation and CUNA Mutual becomes an affiliated organization of WOCCU.
1974 Credit Unions begin providing member checking accounts with share drafts.
  • "SOS"-Save Our Share drafts-campaign and rally fights off banker-inspired legislation that would bar CUs from providing members with share drafts.
  • National Association for Retired Credit Union People (NARCUP) is organized so that CUs can better serve senior members. It is later renamed MEMBERS PRIME Club.
  • National Credit Union Administration allows credit unions to include Select Employee Groups (SEGs) to bolster them after the loss of sponsor organizations due to plant closings and military base closings during a deep recession.
  • Credit Union Development Education program inaugurated under Biden-Pell Amendment to USAID law. Development Educators raise public awareness of CUs and assist CUs abroad and low income CUs in the U.S.
1983 In its first acquistion ever, CUNA Mutual acquires League Life and League General Insurance Companies from the Michigan Credit Union League.
  • CUNA Mutual and the Century Companies of America come together in a permanent affiliation. The structure is the first of its kind within the insurance industry. The Century Companies are later named, "CUNA Mutual Life Insurance Company."
  • Filene Research Institute is formed; R.C. Robertson, president of Arizona State Savings & Credit Union, is named chairman of the administrative board.
  • Janet G, Miller and Rosemarie M. Shultz become first female chair of CUNA and CUNA Mutual respectively.
  • Members of Poland's Solidarity make first contact with the U.S. movement and WOCCU to establish a credit union movement in Poland. As the Soviet bloc breaks up, other eastern and central European countries look to WOCCU and U.S. CUs for assistance in organizing CU movements in countries of their own.
1990 Four North Carolina banks sue AT&T Family Federal Credit Union over field of membership and Select Employee Groups. Bankers claim the Federal CU Act is being violated. A nationwide attack on credit unions by banks and banking industry trade association begins.
1996 CUNA & Affiliates and National Association of Federal Credit Union join in the Credit Union Campaign for Consumer Choice to fight banker attacks on CUs nationwide
  • Bankers' lawsuit is decided in bankers' favor by the U.S. Supreme Court. The legislative battle heats up with H.R. 1151.
  • H.R. 1151 passes House and Senate by overwhelming majorities and is signed into law: the Credit Union Membership Access Act.