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Home > Credit Union Philosophy > Expansion and National Recognition (1901-1934)

Credit Unions … A Quick History Lesson

Expansion and National Recognition (1901-1934)

Around this time, two U.S. businessmen—Massachusetts Banking Commissioner Pierre Jay and prominent Boston merchant and philanthropist, Edward A. Filene— became interested in the “credit union concept.”

Filene was a progressive thinker and was very concerned about members of the working class. He was an advocate of the 40-hour work week. He established profit-sharing plans for employees and a minimum wage for female workers. He was convinced that the idea of cooperative credit and credit unions made good sense for workers.

To stimulate the credit union movement, Filene worked with Massachusetts lawyer Roy Bergengren to form the Credit Union National Extension Bureau in 1921. This new organization was charged with spearheading credit union legislation in every state and on the federal level. As more credit unions formed, they soon realized they could expand faster and provide better services by banding together in statewide leagues. These leagues provided financial and legal advice, organizational help, and advocacy. They quickly became an important instrument for credit unions seeking favorable state legislation, and a number of states passed laws giving credit unions official status.

For more information about other periods of credit union history, click on the links below

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