Economic Slump Doesn't Halt Growth at $1B America's First CU
Following a strategic planning session in 2005, America's First Credit Union-then boasting just above $600 million in assets-set a goal of reaching $1 billion within five years.
Virtually nobody expected the economic slump that would soon hit the CU's hometown of Birmingham, Ala., and the rest of the nation.
America's First was established in 1936 to serve a small group of U.S. Steel employees. In fact, the CU started out so small that its assets were originally kept in a cigar box in the desk drawer of the plant manager. But it eventually grew to serve 1,200 SEGs before switching in 2005 to a community charter covering seven counties. That history has resulted in a very diverse membership drawn from many backgrounds and reflecting the entire metro community.
"That has been very good for our credit union," Adcock said. "During the economic decline we haven't been tied to one group. Going back to the origin of our credit union, if U.S. Steel shut down for a month, it would have devastated our members."
"Our advertising from Scout Branding was able to illustrate those differences in a humorous way," Adcock explained. "We were a little anxious about poking fun at our banker friends, but we felt we were doing such in such a light-hearted way it would be well-received. Who knows, we may shoot another series of 'banker confessions'-there's plenty of material to work with."
Adcock learned the difference between credit unions and other financial institutions early in his career. After graduating from Livingston University, now the University of West Alabama, he joined a finance company in 1971 as a management trainee.