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Truity Credit Union Blog > April 2024 > A Look Through the Years

A Look Through the Years

  • 4/1/2024

In spite of the lack of financial freedom women faced in the United States during the 1930s, 137 members of the Jane Phillips Sorority banded together to form a financial institution, resulting in the financial liberation of all stakeholders in the credit union in April 1939. In just six months, they jointly saved $425.

The Jane Phillips Sorority organized its first chapter in Kansas City in 1937 and expanded across ten states with more than 1,000 members in just a few years. The matriarch of the foundation, Jane Phillips, was the wife of the prestigious oil tycoon, Frank Phillips, who co-founded the Phillips Petroleum Company in 1917 in Bartlesville, Oklahoma. Because the Jane Phillips Sorority was comprised only of female employees of Phillips 66, or Phillips Petroleum Company, their employer was the sponsor company of the credit union. In 1941, due to increased demand from employees, the credit union name changed from Jane Phillips Sorority Credit Union to 66 Federal Credit Union.

The bylaws were then amended to accommodate all employees of Phillips 66. The expansion of the membership profile set the stage for expansion opportunities worldwide. The credit union began as an opportunity for its members to gain financial independence and thus was considered a savings community rather than a borrowing community.

In 1977, a new building was constructed at 4th and Keeler in Bartlesville, Oklahoma to make credit union services more accessible to members. Bylaws were then amended to include daughters-in-law, sons-in-law, and grandchildren of members in the field of membership; meaning members’ family members were eligible to join the credit union by association. The charter was also amended to expand the field of membership, offering services to Phillips 66 employees worldwide. This decision impacted the scale and legacy of the credit union as they were no longer seen as a small institution in a single community, but rather a global financial institution.

In 1980, the Depository Institutions Deregulation and Monetary Control Act was passed, which led to significant change in the complexion of the credit union. This act removed limits from all financial institutions in regards to their deposit instruments and allowed federal credit unions to offer checking account services to members. The 66 Federal Credit Union checking account was quite literally the gateway to providing innumerable, diverse products and services in the future.

The years 1986 and 1987 were pivotal for the development and diversification of the credit union’s products and services. The deregulation of interest rates was fully phased in and market interest rates dropped to their lowest point in years. The credit union seized the opportunity to introduce the 66 VISA Credit Card Program and the 66 Equity Line of Credit during this time, resulting in more than 3,200 card signups in just a year. In addition, mortgage loans, refinancing, and home improvement loans were introduced and loans began to increase. Due to the economic instability in the United States, banks and S&Ls (savings and loans) were closed in record numbers while the credit union continued to see record growth amongst its membership.

Very shortly after the start of 1990, 66 FCU acquired the Kansas University Credit Union in Lawrence, Kansas. The acquisition of KUCU opened a door into the Lawrence market and has been a point of stability ever since. Following a pattern of growth, the credit union opened a branch in Bellaire, Texas to better support and serve the needs of Phillips Petroleum Company employees. In the years following, 66 FCU would open the first ever Houston branch in the ConocoPhillips metroplex and create the market trinity. For more than two decades the credit union has serviced three primary markets that are still thriving today: Bartlesville, Lawrence, and Houston.

66 FCU later introduced a program in 1994 which allowed members to utilize a VISA check card, or debit card, to access their checking account through participating merchants and ATMs worldwide. They were the first financial institution in Bartlesville, OK to offer such a service. At this point the credit union became a comprehensive financial source for its members just in time for the startup of the new affiliate, Tyson Credit Union. Tyson added over 9,000 new members pushing the membership base count to more than 42,000. This strategic move caused growth despite the sponsor company’s workforce instability. This was the cause of the branch openings in Springdale, Arkansas and Wilkesboro, North Carolina. These branches were opened to better serve Tyson employees on a larger scale.

The credit union’s efforts to diversify its membership proved to be successful, while over the next several decades, its membership and asset portfolio grew to record numbers. They added a variety of new, innovative products and continually made technological advances to improve member services and products. In 2013, 66 Federal Credit Union rebranded and was renamed Truity Credit Union, the credit union’s current identity. Truity stems from the words trust and integrity; two things they felt should be embodied in their institution. The name change was essential because it housed all of the credit union fiduciaries under one name and created a simpler and more seamless experience for its members.

Because of the vast history and important changes made to the credit union structure, they’ve been able to better serve the communities in which they reside. Truity Credit Union emphasizes a community mindset and prioritizes the financial well-being of each person in them. They’ve introduced a multitude of products and services to promote inclusivity, such as checking accounts, savings accounts, credit cards, and educational opportunities for those in the community who are seeking knowledge and financial health. In addition, the Truity Education Foundation was created in 2009 and exists to support local, public education in each serviced market. Their spirit card programs are available for members who choose to participate and in addition to a sign-up incentive, a percentage of each transaction is donated to the school of their choice. They have donated more than $1,000,000 to local schools since the creation of the foundation fifteen years ago.

Truity employees are encouraged to participate in fundraising efforts by deducting donations from their payroll. They often donate their time to volunteer at public events to increase Truity’s presence in the community. A new charity or organization is decided on each year by an employee vote and payroll deductions are appropriately allotted to each market. For instance, the 2024 Community Cares partners are Hopestone Cancer Support Center in Bartlesville, Family Promise in Lawrence, and Melissa’s Second Chances in Olathe. At the forefront of Truity’s priorities is member service and experience, but also the financial health and wellness of each community. Truity has also been recognized as the Best Credit Union, Best Place to Work, Best Benefits in Bartlesville and Best Credit Union in Lawrence because of their impact in each community.

The headquarters of Truity Credit Union is located in Bartlesville, Oklahoma in the 500 block of S Johnstone Avenue. In the past year the credit union has opened two new branches, one in Lawrence, KS in August 2023 and one in Olathe, Kansas in November 2023. The expansion into the Olathe market has opened the door to endless opportunities for expansion in Johnson County and bordering counties and areas surrounding the already established Lawrence market. Now with nine branches in four markets and further plans for expansion, they are a financial institution with a membership base of more than 72,000 and have assets exceeding $1.1 billion. Because of the bravery and innovativeness of the Jane Phillips Sorority 85 years ago, Truity Credit Union is able to serve its members and positively contribute to each community impacted by their presence. They have programs to support public education, non-profits, and small business owners. The ultimate goal of the credit union is to serve their members’ interests. The best way to do that is by providing exceptional service and making contributions to serve the greater good of their communities.

Truity Credit Union serves over 72,000 members worldwide and has assets of more than $1.1 billion. Truity offers personal checking and savings accounts, auto and home loans, as well as competitive business loans for almost any purpose. Visit TruityCU.org to join the movement for better banking.

 

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