Credit unions, generally set up by groups of individuals with a common link, such as membership in a labor union, are not-for-profit financial cooperatives that offer personal loans and other consumer banking services. Originating in Europe, the first credit union in this country was formed in Manchester, New Hampshire in 1909. Credit unions now serve more than 80 million people in the United States.
In 1934, President Roosevelt signed the Federal Credit Union Act into law, authorizing the establishment of federally chartered credit unions in all states. The purpose of the federal law was
to make more available to people of small means credit for provident [provisions for the future] purposes through a national system of cooperative credit.. In 1970, the National Credit Union Administration, which charters and supervises credit unions, was created along with the National Credit Union Share Insurance Fund, which insures members’ deposits. Individual credit unions are served by 31 federally insured corporate credit unions, which provide investment, liquidity and payment services for their members.