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About our Credit Union

What Is A Credit Union?

A Credit Union is a democratic, cooperative financial institution, founded by its members, governed by its members, and serving its members by providing them with affordable financial services.

Seven principles are founded in the philosophy of cooperation and its core values of equality, equity and mutual self-help. They express, around the world, the principles of human development and the brotherhood of man through people working together to achieve a better life for themselves and their community.

Federal Credit Unions are regulated by the National Credit Union Administration (NCUA), and member deposits are insured up to a minimum of $250,000 by this government agency.


History of Selfreliance FCU

May 12, 1951, a group of Ukrainian immigrants was charged with the responsibility of creating a new financial institution to meet the needs of their fellow Ukrainians in Chicago. These individuals, who had been active participants in the cooperative movement in Ukraine before they were forced to emigrate, were pleased to discover that Credit Unions existed in the United States.

Selfreliance is a democratic financial cooperative, operated by its members for the benefit of the members and the community. July 2, 1951 Selfreliance Federal Credit Union received its federal charter and held its foundation meeting. Elias Semianczuk was elected President, and Omelan Pleszkewycz became the Credit Union's Treasurer/Manager.

Selfreliance Federal Credit Union's first office was located on the second floor of the Ukrainian community building "Besida", at 2408 W. Chicago Ave. For the first 2½ years, the members of the Board of Selfreliance, together with the Manager, volunteered as tellers, loan officers, bookkeepers – all in their "spare time" after putting in a full day of work in factories and offices.

In 1953, at the insistence of the credit union’s federal regulators, Omelan Pleszkewycz became the credit union's first salaried employee. He held this position until his retirement in 1980.

By 1955 the Credit Union had grown to include 1,100 members and $650,000 in assets. Two additional full-time staffers were hired. In 1955 Anton Artymowycz was elected to the position of President.

April 17, 1957 the Board of Directors authorized the purchase of the building at 2351 West Chicago Avenue. The professionalism and trustworthiness of its leaders, together with a well-crafted campaign of public education about cooperatives, inspired growing confidence among community members in the newly-created institution. In 1959 Anton Artymowycz resigned from the Board of Directors, taking a position as a full-time staffer of the credit union. Roman Mycyk was elected President of the Board of Directors.

During its first decade, 2,754 Ukrainians became members of Selfreliance Federal Credit Union, and credit union assets grew to over $2.5 million.

In 1993 Selfreliance opened a branch office in Jersey City, NJ, and in 2000 two more branch offices were opened, in Newark and Parsippany (now Whippany) NJ following the merger of Selfreliance UFCU/Chicago with Selfreliance UAFCU/Newark.


Credit Union Governance

The primary governing body of Selfreliance Ukrainian American Federal Credit Union is its membership, which gathers once a year at the Annual General Meeting of the Members to elect its volunteer Board of Directors and to ratify any necessary changes to the By-Laws. Each credit union member in good standing has one vote. During the year the credit union is governed by the elected nine-member Board of Directors, which is charged with the responsibility of providing direction and setting policy for the Credit Union and its staff.

The Board of Directors elects an Executive Committee, as well as Credit and Supervisory Committees. The Credit Committee verifies member loan applications and grants loans. The Supervisory Committee reviews all credit union operations and informs the members of its findings.


Selfreliance and the Community

SUAFCU supports the efforts of its members in establishing cultural and social organizations. These institutions maintain the integrity of the community, thereby supporting growth in Credit Union membership.

With its affordable loans and beneficial services, SUAFCU helps its members strengthen their economic standing. Our involvement with community organizations helps preserve and maintain the viability of our communities in Chicagoland and our service areas in New Jersey.

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