Our History

The Education Credit Union’s History

On January 19, 1935, with the Great Depression as their backdrop, ten Amarillo teachers gathered together and formed Amarillo School Employees Credit Union (ASECU). Each founder contributed five dollars to the fledgling organization bringing initial capitalization to fifty dollars. By March 7th of the same year, the State of Texas Department of Banking issued the credit union charter #80.

Senior couple going to play golf.

Founders of the Credit Union

The ten founding members served as the initial Board of Directors. They were:

  1. Wayne Middleton–President
  2. R. F. Williams–Secretary-Treasurer and Manager
  3. Hugh Underwood
  4. C.C. Walden
  5. J.E. Speer
  6. T.G. Hull
  7. Mary Vivian Cecil
  8. T.H. McDonald
  9. Elizabeth Nixson
  10. I.D. Mahuron.

In 1983 the number of directors was reduced to nine to avoid voting ties.

In 1986 elective terms were restructured to revolving three-year-terms, and ASECU adopted the Texas Standard By-Laws for state-chartered credit unions.

Today the credit union is a full-service financial institution serving 30,000+ members in eighteen counties. The original purpose of the founders was to promote thrift and provide a source of low-cost, personal credit for members. That purpose continues today. Over the years the credit union has been fortunate to have board members who have been, dedicated to the credit union movement.

Managers/Presidents /CEOs of the Credit Union

The first two managers of the credit union, R.F. Williams, 1935-1949 and S.G. Anthony, 1949-1958, were part-time employees. Serving members either before or after school hours, and conducting a “hip-pocket, shoe box” operation, Williams and Anthony breathed life into the youthful organization.

More notable growth occurred in the early 1970s when it became possible to employ full-time, management. E. M. Savage, 1958-1982, became the first full-time manager. Patricia M. Tomberlin then became President/Manager in 1982. Her leadership, until 1997, brought the credit union to its current full-service status and thriving position in the financial industry.

Following Tomberlin’s retirement, the board appointed Larry D. Cooper as President/CEO in June of 1997. Cooper had been a credit union employee for 28 years and had served as Executive Vice President for 15 years.

In June 1997, Cooper restructured the management team to include: Vice President of Management Information Systems; Chief Financial Officer; Vice President of Marketing; Vice President of Lending; Vice President of Member Services; Collection Manager; and Teller Supervisor.  In September 1997, the board hired Gregg R. Bynum, as Senior Vice President. Extensive employee training then began in areas of compliance.

In September 2003, the board appointed Gregg R. Bynum, as President/CEO.  In October of the same year, Claudia Burkett was appointed Senior Vice President.  Prior to this promotion, Mrs. Burkett had been a credit union employee for 15 years and served in positions such as: Chief Technology Officer, Vice President of Information Systems, IT Manager, ACH Coordinator, Title/Vault clerk, and Loan Receptionist.

In July of 2019, the board appointed Eric L. Jenkins, as President/CEO.  Before joining the credit union, Eric was the Vice President of Operations of Georgia United Credit Union in Duluth, Georgia since January of 2014.

Office Space

ASECU offices were first located in R.F. Williams’ Amarillo High School classroom. Later locations were in Central Junior High School (subsequently renamed Nixson Junior High School) and Wolflin Elementary School. Hours of operation were before and after school hours.

In 1975 the credit union purchased a building located at 119 West 15th Street, Amarillo, Texas, and extended hours of operation. At first the credit union occupied only half of the building. The staff and board of directors at the time doubted the operation would ever need more space.

By 1986, however, the building was bursting at the seams with expanded membership, employees and services. The board of directors voted in November to plan and build new headquarters.

In 1987, the credit union purchased land located at 4400 W. Interstate 40, Amarillo, Texas.  Construction of the building was completed in October 1988, with a portion of the basement reserved for future expansion. The credit union’s first day of business in the new building was October 3, 1988. Sale of the old building on 15th street was completed in 1990.

In June of 2002, the I-40 drive up was expanded to serve more members.

In October of 2002, the credit union purchased and renovated an old beauty salon in Canyon off 4th street and turned it into a full-service branch.

In 2003 the credit union purchased land located at 6201 Hillside, Amarillo, Texas and a new branch was constructed.

In 2006 the credit union expanded the lot at 6201 Hillside and constructed the Operations Center, 6203 Hillside, Amarillo, Texas.  The Operations Center was built to accommodate: President/CEO, EVP, CFO, Accounting, Marketing, Human Resources, and a Call Center.

In 2007 the credit union purchased land at 1801 S. FM 2381, Bushland, Texas where a new branch was constructed.

In the fall of 2012 the credit union purchased land at 5500 Plum Creek Drive, Amarillo, Texas and a new branch was constructed. December 1, 2013 the Plum Creek branch was open for business.

In December 2013 the credit union purchased land at 3615 SW45th, Amarillo, Texas.  This branch opened for business in January 2015. This building will accommodate: IS, Call Center, DSS, Collections, and a full service branch with a drive up.  The development of this branch is to serve our south east members with access to/from I-27.

Coming 2021:

Storefront branch located inside AISD’s AmTech Career Academy

Second Canyon, TX location at 1900 FM 2590 (Near the corner of VFW RD. & Hunsely RD.)

Field of Membership

The credit union’s original field of membership included employees of the Amarillo Public Schools and Amarillo College. As the years passed, the credit union opened its field of membership to include children of current members.

Upon expiration of its fifty-year charter, the board renewed the credit union’s charter on March 7, 1985.

Before 1985 all employees of all public, private, and parochial schools, colleges and universities were added. After 1985 retired teachers and spouses of deceased members were included.

In December 1986 the board voted to expand the credit union’s field of membership to include blood and legal relatives.

Two new organizations were added to our field of membership in 1987: Opportunity Plan Inc. and Texas Tech University Health Science Center.

The Board of Directors, in 1988, adopted Option Four of the bylaws to, at the option of the board; allow inclusion of other small employee groups within ten miles of the credit union’s headquarters.

Two new organizations were added to our field of membership in 1989: High Plains Dermatology Center and Panhandle Alcoholic Recovery Center.

In 1997, the credit union changed its name from Amarillo School Employees Credit Union to The Education Credit Union (ECU) to better reflect the field of membership the credit union serves.  In July 1997 ECU’s field of membership was changed to include currently enrolled students of higher learning.

In 2001 the  credit union field of membership is open to all employees of all public, private, and parochial schools, colleges, and universities, Homeschoolers, certified day care workers, and all currently enrolled students of higher learning in Potter, Randall, Armstrong, Carson, Donley, and Oldham counties, and to those employees’ and students’ blood and legal relatives.

In January 2004 the THD District 4 Credit Union merged with ECU.  This merger welcomed 404 new members to ECU.

In 2005 the credit union field of membership expanded to include the AISD PTA Council, the WTAMU Alumni Association,  and school employees in Dallam, Deaf Smith, Donley, Gray, Hansford, Hartley, Hemphill, Hutchison, Lipscomb, Moore, Ochiltree, Roberts, and Sherman counties in the Texas panhandle.

In 2010 the board voted to expand the credit union charter to serve any person living, working, or attending church, or school within 10 miles of the Canyon or Bushland Branch.  It was also approved that ECU could serve any student in the top sixteen counties where ECU already served school employees.

In April of 2012 the board voted to expand ECUs credit union charter to serve any person living, working, or attending church or school within 10 miles of the Hillside and I-40 Branches.

On July 1st, 2013 the credit union changed its name from The Education Credit Union to Education Credit Union to simplify the name.

From the original membership of ten members, the credit union has grown to over 30,000+ members in eighteen counties.

Assets

The credit union has grown steadily throughout its history.  From original assets of fifty dollars, the credit union grew to $1 million by 1968.  ECU asset growth:

  • 1968    $1,000,000.00
  • 1973    $3,300,000.00
  • 1978    $9,100,000.00
  • 1983    $13,500,000.00
  • 1988    $28,700,000.00
  • 1993    $45,900,000.00
  • 1998    $59,100,000.00
  • 2003    $95,600,000.00
  • 2008    $132,500,000.00
  • 2013    $206,784,000.00
  • 2018    $258,385,000.00

Services

 In the beginning, the credit union offered traditional saving accounts and loans. As the credit union progressed, so did related services. Credit cards, ATMs, Certificate of deposit accounts, real estate loans, IRA’s, Health Savings, Home Equity, and home improvement loans were added to the list.

Technology

For the better part of its first four decades, the credit union processed data manually, first with ledger cards, and then a posting machine and calculators.  ECU currently utilizes Fiserv’s XP2 processing platform.

Over time ECUs technology has continued to evolve.  Technology offered to our members includes:

  • Website
  • Touchtone Teller
  • Online Banking
  • Bill Payment
  • Mobile Banking
  • Text Banking
  • iPhone & iPad Application
  • Android Application
  • Tablet Application
  • Realtime Mobile Deposit Capture
  • Electronic Loan Applications
  • Electronic Account Opening
  • eSignature Loan Documents

Conclusion

The credit union has weathered the times strongly. The continuous effective guidance by management, staff and board has made Education Credit Union a sturdy and vital financial institution. Education Credit Union is and has always been committed to service for its members. The credit union will continue to be committed to the idea of “People helping People”.