History of AmeriCU Credit Union. Local Since 1950. Join today!


Our History

Founded in 1950 at Griffiss Air Force Base, AmeriCU is a member-owned credit union. We have grown to over $2.4 Billion in assets and more than 150,000 members throughout Central & Northern New York and the world. AmeriCU offers our members the most convenience, services and value, all while continuing to provide outstanding service.

AmeriCU is part of the American credit union movement and works to embody the principles of “people helping people” and cooperative ownership. Everything we do is for our members and our communities. It’s why we have lower loan rates, higher deposit rates, and support local charities and not-for-profit organizations. After all, we exist to provide our members the right financial services to live life, dream big and achieve financial success.

The Credit Union Movement

The American credit union movement began as an economic experiment in the 19thcentury to help farmers struggling from the effects of famine and exorbitant interest rates charged by money lenders. At the same time, the need for affordable credit became obvious to most companies and factories as well. On pay days, their offices were often crowded with sheriffs, loan sharks and process servers all waiting for a piece of the worker’s pay.  Enlightened owners and managers realized that employees deep in debt would have a hard time thinking about their jobs and a credit union would help.

As credit unions formed and societies developed, member control became critical to their success and fundamental credit union principals. Membership requirements based on character, one member one vote and the election of a committee to approve loans came into practice.  In addition to their economic role, early founders saw credit unions as a way of building community, teaching and encouraging thrift, social reform and self-help.

Photo of hanging AmeriCU building sign

AmeriCU's History

Our credit union was chartered in 1950 as the Griffiss Employees Credit Union. We operated out of a desk in the Headquarters Building at Griffiss Air Force Base in Rome, NY and serviced only civilian members. As we grew, our charter was amended to include military personnel and an expanded field of membership. We also increased the variety of products and services offered.  We then became Griffiss-Oneida Federal Credit Union.

In 1985, Griffiss-Oneida Federal Credit Union merged with DeWitt First Federal Credit Union in Syracuse and our name was changed again to Up State Federal Credit Union.  In 1988, we merged with Fort Drum Federal Credit Union.  Finally, in 2000 we transitioned from a federal charter to a New York State community chartered credit union and changed our name to AmeriCU Credit Union.

Photo of AmeriCU financial center

AmeriCU Today

Now, as AmeriCU, we serve over 150,000 members, have 19 Financial Centers located throughout Central and Northern New York, and offer a complete line of financial services – including savings, consumer and real estate loans, credit cards, online banking, kiosk services, access to a nationwide CO-OP ATM network and more, and more. All member accounts are insured up to $250,000 by the National Credit Union Administration (NCUA).

Most importantly, the concept and philosophy of the credit union movement’s beginnings – co-operative field of membership, one member one vote, education, and affordable credit – are still integral parts of who we. The credit union creed of “Not for Profit, But for Service” carries on in a movement created to serve the people and in our mission to help our members live life, dream big, and achieve financial success.

Not a member? Not a problem! Open an account with just one penny if you live, work, worship or attend school in Central or Northern NY, or you or a member of your family is on active-duty, in the reserves, or a veteran of the U.S. military.