Unity One Credit Union reached an important milestone September 3; it acquired its 30,000th member. A milestone such as this one warrants a look back on the credit union's rich 87-year history and its legacy of listening.
What began as a modest operation conceived of by railway clerks from the Great Northern Railroad with business hours at lunch and transactions performed by volunteers, the credit union has grown to 30,000 members and assets of about 208 million dollars.
“We have been successful by listening to our members,” says Unity One CU president and CEO Gary Williams.
In 1927, the credit union’s nine founders seriously considered comments made by other railway employees regarding banks’ treatment of them. As an answer to banks rigidity, they encouraged employees to pool their resources and create a cooperative alternative to meet basic financial needs.
In doing so, the founders began a legacy of listening. For 87 years, Unity One CU has remained connected to its members through consistent surveying, focus groups and informal discussions. The pursuit of information has endured through two railway mergers, five name changes and four president and CEOs.
In 1997, still connected only to the railroad industry, the credit union conducted a major survey that revealed members’ wish to have a credit union branch located on the newly constructed BNSF campus in north Fort Worth. Once again, Unity One listened, completed the construction of its new branch in 1998 in Fort Worth and decided to move its headquarters from St. Paul, MN.
It was also in 1998 that Unity One expanded its field of membership to include other companies throughout north Fort Worth and St. Paul. That list continues to grow today.
Then in 2001, the credit union took another step in the name of expansion and added underserved areas in Fort Worth and St. Paul to its field of membership. Not long after, Unity One merged with Justin Industries Federal Credit Union in 2002. The uniting of the two entities increased membership and assets and encouraged the adoption of the non industry-specific name used today—Unity One Credit Union.