History & Mission
The history of credit unions begins in the mid 1800's in Southern Germany. The credit union premise began as an answer to the famine and poverty rampant during that time and place. It was founded on the idea of people helping other people - but not with handouts or charity - with a pooling of their resources.
The credit union movement quickly spread and was introduced to the United States in the early 1900's. Credit unions became very popular, affordable, and safe financial institutions. Not a single credit union failed during the Great Depression.
The 1930's saw the emergence of credit unions here in Arkansas. The Arkansas Credit Union League was also formed during these early1930's. Then, as now, one of the main functions of the League was legislative lobbying and representation. In 1931, Arkansas Governor Harvey Parnell signed Act 161, which provided for the organization of credit unions. This took a great deal of legislative activity on the part of the early credit union organizers. One of their major obstacles to overcome was the strong lobbying power of the loan sharks in Arkansas.
The two earliest credit unions in Arkansas were the Rock Island Credit Union and the Little Rock Postal Workers Credit Union. In 1935, the first ACUL Annual Convention was held, and representatives met to further the credit union movement in the state.
Over the past 70+ years, the number of credit unions and credit union members (over 300,000) has grown to encompass all areas of the state. Also, the League has grown and is constantly active in the credit union movement.
Mission Statement: "To preserve, promote, and protect the image, growth, and cooperative efforts of the credit union movement in Arkansas."