CU History

History of Credit Unions

From their origins, credit unions were unique depository institutions created not for profit, but to serve members as credit cooperatives. The earliest financial cooperatives date back to the beginning of the 19th century in England. In the mid-1800’s, Germany was the first home of credit unions as we know them today. •Democratically governed  •Each member has one vote  •Member elected board of directors  •Volunteer based.

These early German credit unions were organized to provide credit to farmers. The Heddesorf Credit Union was formed in 1864 to help German farmers purchase livestock, equipment, seeds and other farming needs.

President Roosevelt signed the Federal Credit Union Act in 1934, forming a national system to charter and supervise federal credit unions. Credit Unions grew steadily in the 1940’s and 1950’s.  By 1960, credit union membership grew to more than 6 million members in over 10,000 federal credit unions. Today, there are about 7,950 active federally insured credit unions and almost 90 million members.


Local History

Dawson Co-op Credit Union is a growing, full service, member owned, non-profit, federally insured financial cooperative for the agricultural community with assets of $153 million. Our mission is to be a leader in the community, while being the primary financial institution of our members.

In 1961, seven pioneers submitted an application to the Minnesota Department of Commerce for a credit union charter. 55 potential members attended the first organizational meeting and the original field of membership included the patrons of Lac Qui Parle Co-op Oil and Farmers Co-op Elevator as well as their employees. The patrons and employees of Tri-County Cooperative Soybean Association were added to the field of membership in 1968. Application was made in 2003 to increase the field of membership to include the counties of Lac Qui Parle, Yellow Medicine, Swift, Chippewa, and Big Stone.

A second office in Boyd was opened in 2004 to provide the community financial service. The third branch, in Renville, was opened in 2009 after TruStone Financial (formerly Teacher Federal Credit Union) entered into a formal agreement to sell the building and agricultural loan portfolio to Dawson Co-op Credit Union. The County of Renville was added to the field of membership at that time.

Funds are federally insured up to $250,000 by the National Credit Union Administration (NCUA), a U.S. Government Agency.