On October 8, 1935, at the height of the Great Depression, nine United States Senate employees pooled their resources and chartered the United States Senate Employees Federal Credit Union with just $45.00. Their goal was to provide quality financial services to workers throughout the Senate.
The following is a list of the organizers as listed in the organization certificate:
- Charles E. Alden, assistant custodian, Senate Office Buildings
- Mack D. Chestnutt, staff of Senator Bachman (Tennessee)
- Blaine S. Hollimon, Jr., Senate Committee on Public Buildings and Grounds
- William E. Howard, Office of the Secretary of the Senate and staff of Senator Costigan (Colorado),
- Harry E. Cain, Office of the Secretary of the Senate
- Edwin L. Swope, staff of Senator Hatch (New Mexico)
- J. M. Henderson, Office of the Secretary of the Senate
- D. Roland Potter, Senate Committee on Military Affairs
- Morris Sheppard, U.S. Senator, Texas
Each organizer received one share for their $5 deposit and this remains the minimum deposit amount to open an account with the Credit Union to this very day. The nine organizers signed the charter on October 3rd, 1935 and it was ratified by the Farm Credit Administration Governor, William I. (Bill) Myers, on October 8th, 1935. Thus began the story of the United States Senate Employees Federal Credit Union.
Initially operating out of an office in the Russell Senate Office Building, United States Senate Employees Federal Credit Union enjoyed decades of continuous membership and revenue growth. During this time the Credit Union also opened its membership up to include employees from the Architect of the Capitol and the U.S. Supreme Court. In October of 1983, the Credit Union branch and operations would expand, moving into the newly constructed Hart Senate Office Building. By the time of its 50th Anniversary in 1985, the institution would serve over 15,000 members.
In the following years, a name change to United States Senate Federal Credit Union (USSFCU) in 1990 and mergers with three other federal credit unions — the Government Accountability Office Federal Credit Union (GAOFCU), the District of Columbia Unemployment Federal Credit Union (DCUFCU), and American Trucking Association Federal Credit Union (ATAFCU) — helped USSFCU achieve dramatic growth into the new century. During this time of growth and expansion, the headquarters moved from the Hart Senate Office Building on Capitol Hill to a new facility located in Alexandria, VA. This new facility would be dedicated to longtime board member and one of those in attendance at the organization meeting on October 8, 1935 - J. Lewey Caraway.
In fact, by the time of its 65th Anniversary in 2000, USSFCU assets had reached $204 million and its membership stood at over 28,000. This decade proved to be filled with periods of expansion as USSFCU recruited close to 100 new employee and member groups to its ever-expanding field of membership. However, this decade was also filled with difficulty and trying time. Economic difficulties followed the terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center and Pentagon and later in the decade the Great Recession starting in 2007. USSFCU shined during these trying times as we were able to provide assistance to members and help them weather these economic storms. The recovery was slow but in the same manner that the founders' came together during the Great Depression, this generation would as well and lead USSFCU and its members to better days ahead.
The 2010s saw a gradual recovery from the economic downturn of the previous decade and then one of the largest growth periods on record for USSFCU. A combination of growth and expansion in the region in addition to strategic relationship development with select employee groups yielded multiple double-digit growth periods toward the end of the decade. As the Credit Union rang in the 2020 New Year, USSFCU celebrated crossing the $1 billion mark for a financial institution.
In the Senate Community tradition of service, USSFCU strives to improve the financial wellness of our members throughout all stages and circumstances of life. We do this by integrating sustainability and security into every financial solution. USSFCU has grown and changed over the years but delivering top-tier financial solutions & service with a unique culture of working better together will always remain our focal point. We do this by staying grounded in USSFCU’s core values of security, teamwork, respect, integrity, innovation and engagement. Most of all, our bottom line or asset size will never be the way we measure success. Everything USSFCU does begins and ends with one thing – taking care of our members. It is at the heart of everything we do and has been that way since 1935.
A Timeline of Continuous Growth
1935 – On October 8, 1935, nine United States Senate employees officially chartered the United States Senate Employees Federal Credit Union. For its first several decades the institution would operate out of the Russell Senate Office Building, named after Senator Richard B. Russell, who represented the State of Georgia in the Senate from 1933 to 1971.
1970 – USSEFCU exceeds $3 million in assets.
1974 – USSEFCU exceeds $10 million in assets.
1983 – To accommodate its continued growth, USSEFCU relocates from its office in the Russell Senate Office Building to the newly opened Hart Senate Office Building, which is named after Senator Philip Hart of Michigan, who during his 17-year Senate career was known as the “Conscience of the Senate”.
1985 – As USSEFCU celebrates its 50th Anniversary and membership has grown to over 15,000.
1986 – USSEFCU exceeds $50 million in assets.
1990 – United States Senate Employees Federal Credit Union Board, in order to help set the stage for future expansion, formally approves a name change to the United States Senate Federal Credit Union (USSFCU).
1992 – The USSFCU Board approves a merger with the Government Accountability Office (GAO) Federal Credit Union, adding 2,700 new USSFCU members and enabling the opening of a second full-service USSFCU branch in the GAO Building at 441 G Street NW.
1992 – USSFCU exceeds $100 million in assets.
1993 – USSFCU opens a new operations center in Alexandria, Virginia.
2000 – USSFCU celebrates its 65th Anniversary as assets reach $204 million and membership surges past 28,000.
2002 – USSFCU’s third branch opens in Alexandria, VA.
2002 – After a significant investment, USSFCU launches online banking.
2003 – USSFCU exceeds $300 million in assets.
2005 – A new call center and business continuity facility opens in Central Virginia to support USSFCU’s member services and to serve as a backup operations center in the event of a natural disaster.
2008 – USSFCU exceeds $400 million in assets.
2010 – USSFCU celebrates its 75th Anniversary.
2011 – USSFCU exceeds $500 million in assets.
2012 – USSFCU relaunches its online banking platform and is now able to offer members even more innovative online banking services.
2015 – As USSFCU celebrates its 80th Anniversary, the credit union has grown to serve more than 32,000 members and manage over $550 million in assets.
2016 – USSFCU exceeds $600 million in assets.
- Upgraded to a new and improved website—offering enhanced user-friendly capabilities and updated Online Banking features.
- Implemented early ACH posting, allowing members access to their direct deposit funds up two (2) days early.
- Donated a total of $50,000 to food banks and shelters in the Washington, DC and Virginia areas.
- Introduced the Bump Rate Certificate—an exciting new savings product that allows members the opportunity to bump up to a higher earning rate during the term of the certificate.
- Launched Member Business Services—providing a line of financial products designed especially for businesses and nonprofit organizations.
- Ended the year with a special thank you to our members—distributing a total of $165,000 in special dividends ($5) to all qualified members throughout the 2017 Holiday season.
- Started the new year by raising rates on all savings products, making USSFCU a national leader in deposit rates.
- Visa® Instant Issue: Debit and Credit Cards that can now be printed instantly—allowing members to leave any USSFCU branch with a ready to use, fully functioning account in just minutes.
- Received a 5-Star Rating with Bankrate.com and ranked #79 in the Top 200 Healthiest Credit Unions in the Nation with DepositAccounts.com by Lending Tree.
- Grew to a total of $715 million in Total Assets—a USSFCU milestone.
- Offered the Top Jumbo 5-Year Share Certificate Rate in the Nation
- Ranked as the Top Performing Credit Union in the Nation by S&P Global Market Intelligence
- Updated our fleet of ATMs throughout the DC metro area
- Bank to bank loan payments available through Online Banking
- Expanded and enhanced our Mortgage Department
- Ranked as one of 2019 Top 200 Healthiest Credit Unions by Deposit Accounts by Lending Tree
- Ended 2020 as a $1 Billion Financial Institution
- Created Crisis Management Team in response to the COVID-19 Pandemic
- Moved entire USSFCU work force from in-office to remote work
- Offered deferments to members, eliminated certain fees and created a relief loan
- Offered PPP loans to Small Business Members
- ACH Loan Origination service implemented
- Performed deep cleanings in back-office and branch locations, sanitizer station and Plexiglas guards installed and PPE provided to staff
- Implemented a three phased approach to reopening starting in late May
- Eisenhower Branch reopens drive-thru and appointment only lobby