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Global Credit Union began as Fairchild Federal Credit Union in 1954. As a means to serve the financial needs of the military and civil service employees at Fairchild Air Force Base, our founder, Mary Milla had a dream to begin a credit union on the base. Milla was a secretary working at Fairchild AFB when she held an informal meeting with a handful of military officials, in her own kitchen, to form the credit union.
Upon approval by the Bureau of Federal Credit Unions, the organization was established with a start-up fund of $284. By the end of its first year, Fairchild Federal Credit Union's assets grew to $39,177. This represented the savings of 647 members. By 1959, the credit union's assets exceeded $2.5 million.
After submitting the necessary documents to the Department of Defense, the credit union was chosen from 12 qualified applicants to establish branches on overseas U.S. military installations. In May 1969, the first overseas branch was opened at Aviano Air Force Base in Italy. Later that year, a second branch opened at Camp Ederle, Vicenza and by the following year, a third at Camp Darby, Tirrenia. A fourth Italian branch was established in 1977 at San Vito.
Originally housed in a World War II structure that served as an X-ray lab during the 1940s, the credit union moved its headquarters from Fairchild Air Force Base to downtown Spokane in 1976 while continuing to operate a branch at Fairchild.
In May 1982, the Board of Directors approved a request by the Department of Defense to provide credit union service to the Department's personnel stationed at Incirlik and Izmir, Turkey. Two other offices opened earlier that year in Athens, Greece, and Iraklion, Crete. These offices, as well as the two in Turkey, closed at the end of that same year due to governmental cutbacks in military spending. However, a branch was opened in May 1987 at an Air Force missile facility in Comiso, Sicily.
The credit union opened its first drive-up facilities in 1985 at the Spokane and Fairchild AFB branch locations. By the following year, the credit union had established a branch inside Tidyman's supermarket, the first of its kind on the West Coast. Offering the most innovative and convenient products and services for members has always been a priority for the credit union.
In 1988, the Board of Directors voted to change the credit union's name to better reflect its diverse membership and to enhance growth potential. A contest was held among the membership, with three selected entries sent to the National Credit Union Administration for approval. Fairchild Federal Credit Union officially became Global Federal Credit Union on April 1, 1989.
From 1990 to 1998, six more branches opened, including four in Idaho, one in Spokane Valley and another on the campus of Gonzaga University. In 1996, the credit union was honored as the Best Credit Union in the Air Force, a distinction they would duplicate in 2004 within the Army.
In 1997, Global Federal Credit Union converted to a state-chartered credit union, dropping "Federal" from its name. In 1998, the Board of Directors applied for and received a community charter, giving the credit union the ability to serve anyone who lives or works in Spokane County. Global was granted community charters for several counties in Idaho in 2000, and a statewide community charter for Washington State in 2002. The first location to benefit from this statewide charter was the Tri-cities, when in 2003 Yoke's grocery store branches were opened in both Pasco and Kennewick, Washington.
In response to a growing reputation as a source of first-rate business banking Global Credit Union opened its much anticipated full-service Member Business Services Center in 2004 on Riverside Avenue in the heart of Spokane’s financial district.
In 2013, Global Credit Union launched a new logo and brand campaign to celebrate the people, artists and businesses who make their communities great. This initiative, the Global Citizen Strategy, reflected the credit union's long standing traditions of community involvement, military history and entrepreneurial spirit by engaging members and like-minded individuals through support of the arts, music, small businesses and military service. The credit union does this through people who care - members, employees and volunteers. People helping people who are doing what they're passionate about - not because it makes them rich, but because it enriches their lives.
In 2018, Global was the first local credit union to launch drive-up ITMs in Spokane.
ITMs are Interactive Teller Machines. They allow members to connect with a live teller who is able to assist with nearly every transaction in a traditional branch setting. The ITMs can also be used as an ATM, 24/7. Global continued expanding ITMs both inside and outside of branches, allowing members a variety of experiences and continuing a tradition of continuous service improvements.
Continuing to grow, Global created a new concept branch: In-Store Member Service Center (ISMSC). Two new ISMSCs were opened in 2019 and 2020. The Global29th ISMSC was opened in the Safeway grocery store on 29th Avenue in 2019, bringing the newest technology to Spokane’s South Hill Neighborhood. In 2020, the GlobalSouthValley ISMSC was opened in the Albertson’s grocery store in the South Spokane Valley neighborhood. Equipped with ITMs, these service centers are also staffed with Member Consultants, working to help busy shoppers make the most of their time and finances.
To date, Global Credit Union has total assets of over $500 million. Approximately 190 dedicated professionals serve Global's 50,000+ members. Today, three full-service branches are operating in Italy on U.S. military installations, with an additional 12 locations in Washington and Idaho.
Global Credit Union is now one of the largest credit unions in the Pacific Northwest and is a recognized leader within the communities it serves.
Experience the difference of credit union membership. When you join Global you're more than a customer, you're a member and an owner. Your membership gives you access to a suite of products designed with you in mind.
Wondering if you qualify for membership? If you live or work in Washington or North Idaho, you can join! Click here to see all the ways you may be eligible for membership.