From the depths of despair during the great depression, the enterprising spirit of a handful of Fall River firemen gave birth to what is today the Fall River Municipal Credit Union. The beginning was humble to say the very least. It started with a Fall River firefighter, a state appointed finance board, and the impending threat of wholesale cuts in the pay of city employees.
The Credit Union’s founding points to a Fall River firefighter who attempted, without success, to obtain a loan from a local institution. As the father of nine children, his financial resources had been drained and he was in dire straits. It was at this point that two fellow firefighters told him about a credit union that had been established in Springfield, Massachusetts.
The late Louis Shea, a son of a founder, recalled the beginning as related by his father. “They began by using an old cigar box as a cash drawer and a locker at the Pocasset Fire Station became the first vault,” Shea explained.
The capitalized fund amounted to the grand total of $600. This was created by the purchase of five-dollar shares by each of the founding fathers. Originally, the concept was to restrict savings to $25 per month for each member. The original officers of the Credit Union were resourceful and creative.
The late Raymond Pettine, an attorney and counsel for the Credit Union and brother of a founder, recalls the credit union officers buying 100 tons of coal in the off season and selling it to members at a lower cost than the winter market price. Not only did the members save money on the purchase of fuel; the officers of the Credit Union had a truck and delivered the coal.
The early heritage of service to its members characterizes Fall River Municipal Credit Union today. In the beginning, the men who ran the credit union knew their members. There was a high level of trust and commitment to their members and things are very much the same today. A member’s value is based on their character and is treated fairly. It was typical of the spirit demonstrated by the original founders and it is this spirit that continues to thrive today.
Although originally established as a credit union restricted only to municipal employees, the credit union now enjoys an expanded charter as the result of acquiring the Boys’ Club Credit Union. This acquisition now makes membership possible to virtually anyone living or working in the counties of Bristol, Plymouth, and Barnstable in Massachusetts and Bristol and Newport Counties in Rhode Island.