How Did Credit Unions Begin and Why Do We Celebrate International Credit Union Day?

Thursday, October 20, is International Credit Union Day, and we could not be more proud of being part of this growing commitment to serving communities. And …we are not the only ones. According to the Statista Research Department, in 2016, there were 272 credit unions, but that number increased to 404 by 2021.

People understand the value of community, the importance of pouring into friends and family, and the necessity of being good stewards of money. Credit Unions embody all of these values and more. Here at AOD Federal Credit Union, we proudly celebrate
International Credit Union Day because we understand and appreciate community, family, and friends and letting our hard-earned money work for us.


Recently, we wrote a blog explaining the difference between a bank and a credit union and the importance of understanding that difference. Here is a little history so you can fully grasp the difference and the passion behind why we celebrate International Credit Union Day.

Credit Unions were first established in 1864 by Friedrich Raiffeisen. Raiffeisen lived in a small town in southern Germany. He believed neighbors and friends should be able to enjoy an enhanced standard of living and could if only they had access to common funds. He proposed that all community members pool their resources and give individuals in need the opportunity of loans and easier access to necessary funds. Raiffeisen’s idea was well received in his community, and his credit union model began the movement worldwide.

The movement reached American shores in 1909, and in 1920 attorney Roy F. Bergengren created the systematized concept for the credit union model we know and love today. Credit Unions gained popularity and started popping up all over the United States. But it wasn’t until 1930 that they achieved federal recognition and national acceptance. In 1934 President Franklin D. Roosevelt signed the Federal Credit Union Act into law, and chartered credit unions became legally authorized to create a not-for-profit system to promote sound financial practices that benefit their members and community. 


On April 21, 1950, AODFCU was federally chartered as a financial cooperative to serve its members, and our first day of operation was May 4, 1950. The credit union’s original charter group consisted of 45 members who were all employed by the Anniston Ordnance Depot in Bynum, Alabama. Our founders understood a simple principle that is as true today as it was in 1950 – No one is as committed to the success of the community like the men and women of the community itself.They aim to take ownership of their financial future, control their destiny, and serve each other. And, most importantly, more opportunities for our members and our community .

AODFCU has grown from a select employer group credit union to a community credit union that serves over 37,000 members. And, true to our roots, we have remained tightly connected and wholly committed to our communities even as we have grown.
We are owned, led, and operated by members for members. Today from our branch staff to our board members to our CEO and senior management, We are not just employees; We are members. And like the original 45 members that formed AODFCU, our commitment is to each other — not some far-away corporate headquarters or New York stock brokers.


AODFCU has similar products you might find at a bank. We have checking and savings accounts, personal and business loans, credit cards, children’s accounts, ATMs, and more. But there are subtle differences in each product because we have an authentic concern for the financial well-being of each member. 

Being member-owned, we seek to serve, educate, and assist every member because if you are not successful, neither are we. We can only grow if the community we serve grows. For that reason, we offer more favorable terms, better rates, or more access to funding.

We are a NOT-FOR-PROFIT ORGANIZATION that is member-owned and member-operated. We have one market, East Central Alabama, and our success depends on its success. This means every credit union member has a stake in our success and a voice in how we do business. Our members elect our leadership and are charged with working hard to help you achieve your financial goals. We literally work for you. Instead of making profits for some far-away investors, we work to make life better for the people right here. 

Since 1950, AOD Federal Credit Union has grown to 7 branches and more than 1,300 Select Employer Groups throughout Calhoun and St. Clair County. For over 70 years, the credit union’s goal has been to provide its members with sound savings programs, competitive lending and checking products, and various other convenient services tailored to fit the needs of each individual member. 

Having over 70 years of service and experience has positioned AOD Federal Credit Union to become one of the nation’s largest and most stable credit unions, and we are not stopping.

  • AODFCU continues to improve our member experience by being proactive and alert
  • AODFCU continues to upgrade technology and facilities to improve efficiencies
  • AODFCU continues to expand its field by partnering with more than 1,300 Select Employer Groups to enable employees and their families to enjoy AOD Federal Credit Union membership benefits.
  • AODFCU continues to sponsor the Anniston High School Bulldog Branch and the Wellborn High School Branch

AODFCU has been part of the community since 1950. We share a common bond; We value family, friends, and community involvement. We are not for profit and have narrow margins, so all members benefit. Now you know a little more about How we got started and Why we are proud to be celebrating International Credit Union Day. It is an honor to be a credit union serving our community day in and day out.

Let us know how we can help you achieve your dreams and goals successfully. 


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For more information, visit MyCreditUnion.g

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