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The middle of the Great Depression might not seem like the best time to start a business, but for an organization formed to help people, it was the perfect time. SchoolsFirst FCU was founded in 1934 as Orange County Teachers Credit Union, when 126 school employees pooled $1,200 and established a financial institution to help improve each other's lives.

The idea of the credit union caught on quickly with school employees. By the end of its second year of existence, the credit union’s membership nearly doubled, and the assets were more than five times that of the first year.

 

Year   Milestones  
1934 126 school employees collectively pooled $1,200 to form the Orange County Teachers Credit Union. Located at 1012 N. Main St., Board of Equalization Office, Room 206 in Santa Ana, the first branch. Bruce Clark is first secretary-treasurer.
1935 Harry P. Jackson becomes secretary-treasurer.
1936 Board sponsors group health, accident and hospitalization insurance policy. Credit union begins issuing "General Bulletin" to all teachers. Assets $47,169.57, Members 504.
1939 Change in by-laws allows school custodians to join the credit union. Credit union moves to 620 N. Main St. Assets $178,718.13, Members 901.
1942 Harry Jackson resigns as manager, joins Army Air Corps to serve in World War II.
1946 Roy Q. Strain serves as interim secretary-treasurer.
1947 Clarence C. Bowman becomes secretary-treasurer. Post-war demand for loans causes credit union to borrow to cover obligations. Assets $400,000, Members 1,649.
1948 Real estate loan limit raised from 35% to 40% of total assets, loans limited to 50% of appraised value.
1949 Credit union becomes insurance broker. Secretary Bowman resigns, Earl N. Cooper hired as first "manager." Credit union moves to 805 N. Broadway.
1953 Board member Vernon Shippee becomes part-time manager. Credit union begins selling insurance with Harry Jackson as broker. Credit union moves to 1001 N. Broadway.
1955 Credit union moves to "Little White House" at 2115 N. Broadway.
1957 Abraham "Pop" Eidelson becomes general manager. Board approves construction loans. Credit union initiates first payroll deductions from Member's paychecks.
1959 Line of credit loans offered to Members. CUNA Mutual Medical Benefits offered to Members.
1965 Construction on new building at 2115 N. Broadway begins.
1972 30-year mortgage loans offered. Assets $51,777,506.
1973 Eidelson recommends converting to a federal charter. Assets $56,902,611.
1974 Board votes to obtain federal share insurance. Assets $59,460,695.09.
1976 Eidelson dies. Board vice-president Charles Haley becomes manager. Assets $84,556,456.07, Members 50,000.
1977 Credit union begins servicing all accounts with online data processing system. Payroll deductions increase to over $3,000,000 per month. Assets surpass $100 million.
1980 Share drafts offered. Special Shares, Rollover IRAs, Deferred Compensation accounts, and CDs offered.
1981 Low cost group legal services offered. First tax-free "All Saver Certificates" offered to Members. Assets $132,335,000, Members 55,989.
1982 Rudolf Hanley becomes general manager. First Visa cards offered. Field of Membership expanded to include all private schools in Orange County. Assets $149,406,000, Members 57,172.
1983 OCTCU now the largest teacher's credit union in the nation and the fifth largest credit union in California.
1985 First branch established in Mission Viejo. First ATMs purchased. Credit union changes to federal charter, becomes Orange County Teachers Federal Credit Union (OCTFCU). Assets $311,620,000. Members 66,215.
1986 Board holds first meeting in expanded Santa Ana office dedicated to Pop Eidelson. Assets $483,145,000, a 98% increase in only two years.
1987 Charter amended to include private and parochial schools in field of Membership. Fullerton and Westminster branches open. Discount Brokerage program begins. Assets pass half-billion dollar mark.
1988 Placentia branch grows 78% in one quarter. Consumer Reports rates OCTFCU the best value in three categories. Assets $629,725,000, 11th largest credit union in the nation.
1989 Assets $673,726,000, Members 74,280, now 10th in the nation.
1992 Irvine branch opens. Hanley elected CUNA National Director. Assets pass $1 billion.
1993 Student Visa cards approved. MasterCard offered. 100,000th Member joins.
1994 New Anaheim branch opens. Support departments move to new Operations Center in Tustin. Orange County declares bankruptcy.
1995 New Member Education Award (MEA) scholarship program introduced. Teacher of the Year program begins. Assets $1.485 billion. Members 139,000.
1996 Newport-Mesa branch opens. Credit union website debuts. New Home Equity Line of Credit and MasterMoney debit card offered.
1998 President Clinton signs HR 1151 Credit Union Membership Access Act. Roth and Education IRAs introduced. Assets pass $2 billion.
1999 Online Banking introduced. UCI and Huntington Beach branches open. Investment Services Center opened. Members pass 200,000 mark.
2000 Online loan applications, credit card and mortgage loan payments through CU@Home, Online Banking and bill payment service made available.
2001 OCTFCU employees respond to 9/11 attacks by giving blood, raising $45,000. Assets pass $3 billion.
2002 Branch opens in Rancho Santa Margarita. Two loan and investment centers open. First in-store branch opens. Platinum card added. Assets pass $4 billion.
2003 Garden Grove branch opens. Assets $4.56 Billion. Members 295,000.
2004 Express Centers open in Corona and Laguna Hills. Full-service branch opens in Walnut. Visa Rewards Card introduced. Assets pass $5 billion.
2005 Express Center in Long Beach opens. Full-service branch in Cerritos opens. Assets $5.96 billion, Members 330,000.
2006 Branches opened in Rancho Cucamonga, Redlands, and San Bernardino, making 23 total. Assets pass $6 billion. Members pass 350,000.
2007 New branches opened in San Juan Capistrano, La Habra, and Downey. Employees move into new offices in Tustin. Assets $7.5 billion. Members 377,000.
2008 OCTFCU becomes SchoolsFirst Federal Credit Union. Murrieta branch and Norwalk Express Center open. The credit union welcomed its 400,000th Member on December 17.
2009 West Covina, Riverside University, Moreno Beach and Torrance branches open. Assets $8 billion. Merged with El Camino College FCU and Service Plus CU.
2010 Victorville branch opens. Members 463,156. Assets $8.5 billion. Merged with Uselt FCU and Mutual Diversified Employees CU.
2011 Glendale Loan and Service Center opens. Mobile Banking and eAlerts launch. The credit union welcomed its 500,000th Member.
2012 OC Weekly’s 2012 “Best of OC”. Android Mobile Banking and eDeposit for iPhone and Android launch. Envelope-free ATMs and new Enhanced Website introduced. School Employee Credit Card added. Online Chat introduced. Added over 44,000 new Members. Assets $9.4 billion.
2013 OC Weekly’s 2013 “Best of OC”. Merged with All Valley Federal Credit Union. Opened 4 new branches: Lake Elsinore, Riverside-Riverwalk, Hesperia and Long Beach 2nd Street. Added over 48,000 new Members. Assets $9.8 billion.
2014 OC Weekly’s 2014 “Best of OC”. Opened 2 new branches: Pasadena and Chino Valley. The credit union welcomed its 600,000th Member. Added over 100 ATMs in Rite Aid Locations. Rudy Hanley retires and Bill Cheney signs on as new CEO. Assets $10.7 billion.
2015 OC Weekly’s 2015 “Best of OC.” Launched Apple Pay to Credit Cards. Ranked #1 Credit Union by Consumer Reports. Began offering WiFi in select branches. Added 42 ATMs in San Diego Rite Aid Locations. Introduced a new Home Savings Share account.

 

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