Just as communication from afar has progressed from smoke signals and carrier pigeons to today's telephone, Patelco Credit Union has evolved as well. Founded in 1936, it has grown from a five-member organization with $500 in assets serving employees of Pacific Telephone and Telegraph to a nearly 275,000-member credit union serving employees from more than 1,100 organizations, as well as other residents of California who qualify for membership. A telephone company credit union until 1983, Patelco Credit Union now operates about 40 offices in Northern California and one in the Chicago area. It provides deposit, lending, insurance, and investment services, as well as credit cards, debit cards, and online banking.
In addition to its branch offices, Patelco Credit Union also participates in a shared service center network, which allows customers to do business free of charge at more than 6,000 credit union locations and 28,000 ATMs throughout the nation. The credit union also has an agreement with Bank of the West that allows its members to make free deposits and withdrawals at the bank's ATMs.
Patelco Credit Union was negatively affected by the dismal economy in its home state of California. After suffering losses in 2008 and 2009 in large part due to credit woes, the credit union returned to profitability in 2010 as it worked to reduce its amount of charged-off loans by modifying and restructuring problem loans and intensifying its collection efforts. Growth initiatives for the credit union include increasing its mortgage and credit card lending, garnering more fee-based income, and investing in technology to improve customer service. – less