Evansville Teachers Federal Credit Union was founded 86 years ago to serve local educators. Over the following nine decades, ETFCU has welcomed members from all walks of life, both within the tristate and across the region. The credit union currently serves more than 265,000 members with 28 branch locations in Indiana, Kentucky, and Tennessee.
In September 2022, ETFCU will change its name to Liberty Federal Credit Union.
The History of Evansville Teachers Federal Credit Union
Evansville, like the rest of the country, was beginning to recover from the depths of the Depression in the mid-1930s when several teachers decided to pool their savings to generate much-needed loans for their fellow workers and themselves in 1936. The first employee groups to be served by Evansville Teachers Federal Credit Union were the Board of Education and Evansville College in Evansville, Indiana, now known as the Evansville-Vanderburgh School Corporation and the University of Evansville.
Other educational groups in southwestern Indiana were later added to the field of membership, and western Kentucky educational groups were incorporated when the Owensboro Public Schools Federal Credit Union merged with the Evansville Teachers Federal Credit Union in 1992. Other employment groups and organizations that are unrelated to the educational field have joined in the years that followed so that their employees and members might also benefit from the “People Helping People” philosophy.
Evansville Teachers Federal Credit Union is one of the largest credit unions in Indiana and continues to thrive. Much of the success of the institution is due to the scores of volunteers who have served on the credit union’s Board of Directors and Supervisory Committee, the management, the dedicated staff, and especially the members who entrust their financial affairs to ETFCU.
Credit unions, unlike other financial institutions, are not for profit. They exist only to serve the financial needs of their members. The credit union idea originated in Germany in the mid-1800s when Frederick Raiffesien, mayor of a small town, became appalled at the poverty of small farmers. He encouraged farmers to pool their money to make loans to each other to escape the hold of the local money lenders.
This “People Helping People” philosophy quickly spread to other parts of the world. The first U.S. credit union opened its doors in 1909 in New Hampshire. After the passage of the Federal Credit Union Act in 1934, allowing credit unions to be organized through the country, the idea was enthusiastically accepted throughout the United States. Today, credit unions constitute a modern, sophisticated financial system, but their purpose is still to meet the financial needs of the average consumer.
How Credit Unions Differ From Other Financial Institutions
As not-for-profit institutions, credit unions return profit to members in the form of excellent rates on savings and loans and low service fees. Each member age 16 and older may vote to elect the volunteer board members who establish policies regarding shares, loans, investments, and the general operations of the credit union.