The Golden 1 Credits Size, Strategy for 80 Successful Years
Diana Dykstra still remembers her first day at The Golden 1 Credit Union. The former Bank of America employee was hired in August 1982, the very day California’s second-largest credit union reached $200 million in assets.
“I started as a part-time loan clerk,” said Dykstra, now president/CEO of the California and Nevada Credit Union Leagues. “I left in 1997 as senior vice president of lending, collections, marketing and statewide services.”
Dykstra credits her career trajectory to lessons learned at the Golden 1, which turned 80 last month. Second in assets only to the $9.8 billion SchoolsFirst Credit Union in Santa Ana, The Golden 1 relies on both size and strategy in supporting its role as one of California’s top credit unions, according to Donna Bland, the Golden 1’s president/CEO.
“We’re here to provide our members with the products, services and advice they need to get where they want to go in life,” said Bland. “We see members as the individuals they are and we’re here to help.”
The credit union backs its member commitment with a wide range of products and services, as well as an emphasis on member service itself. With more than 1,300 employees serving 640,000 members from 80 branches – more than any other credit union in California – the $8.2 billion Golden 1 has played a formidable role in its members’ financial lives, something that stands in marked contrast to its modest beginnings.
The credit union was established on Aug. 5, 1933, in the heart of the Great Depression. Chartered by 11 state employees as California State Employees Credit Union #1, the institution was the first to provide financial services to state workers and their families. By 1934, the credit union had reached 131 members and by 1950, membership topped 4,565.
Growth continued, with assets reaching the $1 million mark in 1952 and topping $100 million by 1977. That same year the credit union changed its name to The Golden 1 to better reflect a quickly diversifying membership.
Technology began playing a role in the 1980s with the installation of ATMs. That trend continues to the present day, most recently with the expansion to apps for Apple and Android devices and Popmoney applications for person-to-person payments. Currently, 44% of our 640,000 members use these online and mobile services regularly, Bland said.
The credit union has also embraced a variety of scholarship and educational grant programs, which this year will provide in excess of $600,000 to students at various levels. One of The Golden 1’s most notable achievements, however, came several years ago when it helped financially support the State of California during difficult financial times.
The Golden 1 was one of the first financial institutions to come to the aid of the state when it needed temporary funding to cover operating expenses during times of budget impasse in 2008 and 2009. Through the purchase of Revenue Anticipation Notes, the credit union helped stabilize the government during an economically difficult time, according to Bland.