In 1937, the aerospace industry was looking to protect its workers from skyrocketing interest rates. So eight North American Aviation employees pooled their money to start a credit union called North American Aviation Employees Federal Credit Union. There were no paid employees, limited loan and deposit accounts, and little capital. Nonetheless, the idea took root and membership grew by about 200 people a month and assets grew from $5,000 in 1937 to over $20,000 by 1940.
North American Aviation employees were able to join the credit union with 25 cents and a $5 savings deposit. In 1942, the credit union hired its first full-time employee. Daily deposit boxes were set up at each of North American Aviation’s plants. Members deposited their money in the box in the morning, and picked up their change and receipts in the evening. The credit union opened branches in Inglewood, Long Beach, Altadena, Canoga Park and Downey.
As a result of the merger of Rockwell-Standard and North American Aviation, the credit union changed its name to NR Employees Federal Credit Union and then to Rockwell Federal Credit Union in response to additional mergers in the aerospace industry.
A credit card program was launched in 1978, and the credit union was the first in the country to offer its own Visa cards picturing Rockwell’s space shuttle and the B-17 bomber. Visa liked the idea and featured the credit union in its publications.
In 2000, the Credit Union changed its name to Financial Partners Credit Union, and is now one of the largest credit unions in Southern California with over $1 billion in assets and more than 70,000 members. Headquartered in Downey, the Credit Union has full-service branches in Brea, Downey (2 branches), Huntington Beach, Orange (2 branches) and Woodland Hills. Anyone who lives, works, goes to school, or worships in Orange County and most of Los Angeles County are eligible to open an account at Financial Partners, as are those in San Diego County employed in the healthcare industry or who are active or retired members of the Uniformed Services.