Since 1948, the mission of ORNL Federal Credit Union has been to help its members create healthy relationships with their money. By helping hundreds of thousands of members see success, ORNL FCU has become one of the largest credit unions in Tennessee and in the country.
In 1948, a time of intense economic and political uncertainty, a handful of employees at the Oak Ridge National Laboratory formed a credit union as a means of offering their fellow employees an alternative to commercial banks and other for-profit financial institutions. Their goal: to create a source of low-cost credit and a convenient place to save their hard-earned money.
At their first organizational meeting in August 1948, a group of 10 employees gathered along with representatives of each division of the Laboratory. Also in attendance: an official from the Bureau of Federal Credit Unions. At that meeting, a slate of officers and a Board of Directors were elected. The Board’s first meeting convened on the same day to discuss bylaws and set initial policies such as member fees (25 cents per individual) and maximum amounts for both initial deposits ($250) and monthly investments ($50 per account). Once members paid for one share ($5), they would be eligible for their share of the annual dividends. Security for all loans granted ($100 unsecured and $200 secured) would be provided in the form of insurance, whereby the payment of loans would be guaranteed in the case of death or permanent and total disability. The Credit Union received its first charter (a license to operate) from the Bureau of Federal Credit Unions by September 1948 and was officially named the ORNL Employees Federal Credit Union.
From its humble beginnings of ten founding members and $50, ORNL Federal Credit Union has grown to become a $3 billion+ organization with over 190,000 members. The last 75 years have seen the credit union move from exclusively serving lab employees to a community charter serving anyone who lives, works, worships, or attends school in 19 counties of East Tennessee. ORNL FCU is the fourth largest credit union in the state and one of the top 125 credit unions in the country.