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Ferndale Credit Union Got Its Start in a Church Basement

Credit Union ONE, which is celebrating its 75th anniversary, began with $158 pooled together by 15 neighbors.

Credit Union ONE, a Ferndale-based company and one of Michigan's largest credit unions, was started in a local church basement in 1938 by a group of 15 neighbors.

They pooled together $158 in their shared commitment to "people helping people."

The photos above offer a glimpse at what the credit union looked like in those days, when it was called the "Ferndale Co-Op Credit Union."

Membership grew steadily over the years, and by the early 1960s they were one of Michigan's 10 largest credit unions. Its name was changed to Credit Union ONE in 1984.

Though its building has changed quite a bit - the grocery storefront in the photo above was located where the credit union's parking lot is now - their location has stayed the same.

"We've always been right here in this Nine Mile and Woodward block, so to speak," said Judith Desilets, director of public relations for Credit Union ONE.

"When we built this new building we're in now, which was completed in 1998, we had the opportunity to go to a number of different places," including Troy or other areas, she said. "Our board and CEO thought about it and said you know, this is where our roots are. This is where we started."

Today, the institution serves more than 106,000 members with 18 branch offices in Metro Detroit, Grand Rapids and Traverse City.

Continuing the “people helping people” philosophy, Credit Union ONE is involved in various community programs and charitable gifting programs, including the Leaps and Bounds Child Parent Center, the Barbara Ann Karmanos Cancer Institute, and the Children’s Miracle Network, Desilets said.

The credit union also supports the Ferndale community through a variety of events and programs, including the Woodward Dream Cruise and providing the space for the FernCare Free Clinic.

“Thank you to the Credit Union ONE Board of Directors and our dedicated employees, both current and past who have helped bring us to 75 years of service to our members," Paul Stuart, Credit Union ONE chairman of the board, said in a press release. "We couldn’t have done it without you."

Alan G. Soave March 12, 2013 at 07:49 PM
Yeah, and they have their own parking lots and deck and its free!
G-Money March 13, 2013 at 07:54 AM
Too bad the bank wasn't located closer to where people want to park for the downtown.
Linda Baker March 13, 2013 at 06:52 PM
Thank you CU1 for your helping Ferndale grow and prosper and supporting the community in the many non profits and programs that you support! Congratulations on 75 years of growth and service.

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