A look at HTFFFCU history.
"With our own money, with our own efforts, with confidence and with trust in each other we have created a brotherhood of money. We call it a credit union." (Quote from 36th annual meeting report)
One day at Fire Station #1, two well dressed men from Washington DC tried to convince the fire fighters that they would save money by starting a credit union instead of paying exorbitant interest rates for loans at banks. Twelve men out of the 33 stationed there would have to invest a quarter each to start the organization. Frank Barletta threw in the third quarter, "but before it stopped spinning, the room had emptied. It took begging, pleading and a little threatening to get 12 firemen to ante up". On April 9, 1935 Houston Texas Fire Fighters Federal Credit Union was granted a federal charter by the National Credit Union Administration in Washington DC to open for business. Total assets were $3 - kept safe in a locked drawer of a roll top desk and insured by the full faith of the United States government.
For 45 years the credit union remained open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week in downtown Houston. It was operated and managed exclusively by fire fighters who volunteered their services - many times being awakened in the middle of the night to conduct credit union business. Cash loans were made routinely for household appliances, groceries and cars. By 1980 total assets had grown to $13 million.
In 1982 the credit union started construction on its own building at 4200 Kolb Street and still resides in the same location with over 20,000 square feet of office space and a six lane drive through. In the last decade two full service branches on the north and south sides of Houston have been added.
Today HTFFFCU is a full service financial institution with over $200 million in assets and $100 million in loans to members. In addition, the federal government continues to rate the credit union at the highest level of safety and security in assets. The original purpose of "people helping people" has remained the primary focus of the credit union's mission.
Barletta noted, he was proud to say that his children and grandchildren are all members of the Credit Union he helped start.
Did you know?
The Capt Mac logo was named in honor of Captain Leslie D. McDuff. Captain Mac worked in the Credit Union for many years out of Station 1.
He retired from the Houston Fire Department on September 4, 1979. Our beloved Capt Mac passed on November 17, 1986.