June 26 marks the 80th anniversary of the passage of the Federal Credit Union Act of 1934. Enacted during the depths of the Great Depression, the law enabled credit unions to be organized throughout the United States under charters approved by the federal government. The purpose of the federal law was to make credit available to Americans and promote thrift through a national system of nonprofit, cooperative credit unions.

In the years since the passage of the Federal Credit Union Act, credit unions have evolved and are larger and more complex today than those first institutions 80 years ago. But credit unions continue to provide needed financial services to millions of Americans. Today, federally insured credit unions have $1.1 trillion in assets and more than 97 million members.

NCUA and its more than 1,200 employees continue to work to protect and enhance a credit union system that is safe, sound, and secure.


Presidential Message

President Obama marks the 80th Anniversary of the Federal Credit Union Act with a special message

In accordance with White House policy, this Message from the President cannot appear in any publications or forms of communication, including but not limited to: electronic, print, and/or display on other websites. Any unauthorized use of display of this Message or White House letterhead is strictly prohibited without the prior written consent of the Director of Presidential Correspondence.


The Federal Credit Union Act

Visit the National Archives to see a scanned copy of the original document signed by President Franklin D. Roosevelt. (more)


Historical Image Gallery 

 A selection of historical images from key moments in NCUA’s and the credit union system’s history. (more)


Credit Union System and NCUA Historical Timeline

Explore the development of credit unions in the U.S., and learn more about the history of NCUA with our timeline. (more) 


Video Gallery

These videos detail the history of credit unions and NCUA and their roles in helping to ensure millions of Americans have access to affordable financial services.

NCUA PSA: 80 Years of Federal Credit Unions

NCUA is marking the anniversary of the Federal Credit Union Act with a PSA-style video documenting the history of the credit union system and its mission of promoting thrift.

NCUA History of Credit Unions


Downloadable Graphics

Download commemorative graphics and other
historical infographics that can be used to
celebrate the 80th Anniversary of the Federal
Credit Union Act. (more)



Learn More About Credit Unions

What is a Credit Union?

A credit union is a cooperative financial institution chartered by the federal government and owned by individual members. (more)

How is a Credit Union Different than a Bank?

Like banks, credit unions accept deposits and make loans. But as member-owned institutions, credit unions focus on providing a safe place to save and borrow at reasonable rates. (more)

Industry at a Glance

Industry at a Glance is a quarterly updated quick-look at the key facts and figures of the credit union system. (more)

Historical Annual Reports

Annual Reports of NCUA and its predecessors going back to 1944. (more)


External Resources

The National Archives

The Franklin D. Roosevelt Library and Museum