In 1844 workers and weavers of Rochdale, England created a democratic consumer cooperative. They organized a store and subscribed to shares in order to raise capital to buy goods at less than retail price and sell them to their members at a saving. The underlying principle of all cooperatives is that the society operates solely for the benefit of its members. The work of Friedrich Wilhelm Raiffiesen (1818-1888), considered to be the founder of credit unions in Germany, still influences contemporary credit union development. In the United States, the first chartered credit union was established in Massachusetts in 1909 with the help of Alphonse Desjardins (1854-1920). Today there are more than 71 million credit union members of more than 11,000 credit unions nationwide. 

In accordance with the new Credit Union Act, an organization Certificate for LA Financial (Formerly Courts & Records Federal Credit Union) was submitted in January of 1937. A federal charter was granted on February 11, 1937. And by March of that year, the first financial statement reported assets of $1,003; 10 loans amounting to $585; and a membership of 20. Operations were handled from the bottom desk drawer of Manager/Treasurer Floyd Fisher.

At first, no one had much money to save, so only personal loans were made to the most needy. But the concept worked and caught on quickly. After two years, member savings were $19,705; 196 loans totaled $19,705; and assets reached $22,060. Soon the Credit Union was able to lend money for larger consumer items such as automobiles.

In 1944, the "Los Angeles County Court Employees Federal Credit Union" merged with the "Los Angeles County Hall of Records Federal Credit Union" to create a new, greatly strengthened organization known as "Courts and Records Federal Credit Union." By 1955, we attained our first million dollars in assets. The $5 million milestone was surpassed in 1964... the $15 million mark in 1970.

Since then, in the last quarter century, our growth has been phenomenal. Our membership has quadrupled--from 10,204 in 1970 to over 40,000 in 1997. Our assets have multiplied by more than eleven times--from $15 million to $170 million! Since 1982 we have expanded our field of membership and completed several mergers.

Our field now includes all attorneys who are members of the California State Bar, as well as other groups. Our last merger gave us Havasu Community Credit Union in Lake Havasu, Arizona. And our services have expanded to include virtually every convenience that modern technology has to offer. On January 1, 2003, our name was changed to L.A. Financial CU. This name better reflects our diverse and growing membership and our expanding services.

From a bottom desk drawer in a corner of the County Probation Department to a top-drawer financial institution with 4 branches to serve our members, L.A. Financial CU has a lot to be proud of after 60 years; and a lot to look forward to, as we enter the next 60 years from a position of strength and stability. But we have not lost the spirit of innovation that sparked our beginnings... nor lost faith in our founding belief: that we all can benefit from "people helping people."