Seven local visionaries1 who saw the need for a not-for-profit institution to serve the personal financial needs of fellow production workers and maintenance employees at a chemical plant in Lemay organized the credit union in early 1954. Each deposited $5.00 to get it started.
Official paperwork was submitted to the State of Missouri on March 30 that year and approved April 2 by then-Secretary of State Walter H. Toberman.
Over the years we've transitioned from being tied to a single employee group to a community base, serving people who live and work in St. Louis County/City, Jefferson County and Franklin County. Today, 9,000 individuals and families trust us as their financial services partner.
Why we exist
The purpose of the credit union, as stated in our original bylaws which we still follow today, is to:
- Promote thrift among our members, by affording them an opportunity for accumulating their savings;
- Create for them a source of credit at fair and reasonable rates of interest;
- Provide the opportunity for the members to use and control their money for their mutual benefit;
- Educate members in the prudent use of money and credit;
- Operate in the spirit of cooperation and not for profit;
- Improve the community in which we operate;
- Provide other fiscal and financial services at a reasonable cost.
Originally known as Local 1744 Credit Union, we changed our name in 1964 to NALCO2 Credit Union and then to Century Credit Union in 1997 after a merger with First American Credit Union.
Many other names were considered before "Century" was adopted. The curent name came up in conversation over dinner and drinks at a Casa Gallardo restaurant between the credit union’s president and the owner of a local credit union advertising agency. (Margarita Credit Union or The Big Enchilada Credit Union were never considered.
Growth over the years
It took 16 years for us to reach $1 million in assets (1969). By 1984, we had grown to $5 million. Subsequent growth was more rapid, as reflected below:
- 1995: $10 million
- 2000: $25 million
- 2008: $50 million
- 2018: $100 million
- 2022: $150 million
- June 2023: $152 million
Recognition & awards
Century has been recognized with 5-star "Superior" ratings for its financial strength from BauerFinancial, an independent financial ratings firm, every quarter since ratings started being given in 1983. Criteria used includes the capital ratio; profitability/loss trend; evaluating the level of delinquent loans, chargeoffs and repossessed assets; the market vs. book value of the investment portfolio; and historical data and liquidity. Financial institutions with 4- and 5-star ratings are recommended by BauerFinancial.
S&P Global, a company whose primary areas of business are financial information and analytics, has also recognized Century as one of the strongest credit unions in the country.
At the state level, Century has received two Dora Maxwell Social Responsiblity Awards for its community involvement efforts.
From Feed My People, the credit union received a Guardian Angel Award for its generous support of the food pantry.
In August 2015, Century received a Commercial Beautification Award from the Lemay Chamber of Commerce.
1The credit union’s founding fathers are Frank Kapeller, Joe Limpert, Evie Lee Miler, S.A. Blandford Jr., Lawrence L. Newcomer, Anthony P. Peil and Willie Adams. Morris Parker served as the credit union’s first treasurer.
2National Lead Company (NALCO) was a New Jersey corporation founded in 1891 that managed mining operations and became a major supplier of lead to paint companies before shifting its focus to supply titanium dioxide, an increasingly popular choice for pigments and other manufacturing processes. National Lead operated and maintained facilities in St. Louis, known as the Titanium Pigment Division, until 1978 when it was closed. While it’s unknown how many people worked at the plant when the credit union was organized, there were approximately 1,400 employees a decade later. Earlier that same decade, National Lead changed its corporate name to NL Industries, and today is a diversified holding company.