SAFE Credit Union has served its members with honesty, integrity, and innovative solutions since 1940, growing from 10 founding members to more than 200,000 today.
Constantly evolving, SAFE has embraced modern technology and implemented ground-breaking banking solutions to accommodate its members' changing needs. Originally launched to serve employees at the Sacramento Air Depot in Sacramento, Calif., SAFE now serves anyone who lives, works, or worships in the 12-county area it serves.
In 1940, when the credit union opened under its original name of Sacramento Air Depot Federal Credit Union, it ballooned from 10 to 275 members in its first year and managed $7,000 in assets. In that era – just one year before the attack on Pearl Harbor and the United States' involvement in World War II – the unsecured loan limit was $50 and share holdings were limited to $200 per member-owner. By 1944, membership had swelled to 1,800 members and assets reached $30,000.
Sacramento Air Depot Federal Credit Union was renamed Sacramento Air Force Employees Federal Credit Union in 1953. By 1959, the board of directors shortened the name to S.A.F.E. Federal Credit Union. Today, we're simply called SAFE.
As base civilians flocked to join the credit union throughout the 1950s and forward, our membership and assets continued to flourish. At the end of 1984, we were ranked the 75th largest credit union of the 21,000 credit unions in the United States, with assets of nearly $143 million and a membership 40,000 strong.
In 1984, CEO Robert White retired and the SAFE Board of Directors selected then Chief Financial Officer Henry W. Wirz to serve as President and CEO. Under his leadership, the credit union enjoyed tremendous growth. Notably, SAFE merged with McClellan Federal Credit Union in 1996, expanding its membership to include McClellan military personnel.
SAFE members voted for conversion to a State Charter in 1998, furthering the credit union's reach beyond its aviation heritage to provide banking services to the Greater Sacramento region. As a state-chartered credit union, SAFE proudly serves anyone who lives, works, or worships in the counties of Sacramento, Placer, Yolo, Yuba, Sutter, Amador, Butte, Contra Costa, Nevada, San Joaquin, Solano, and El Dorado.
Beginning in 1999, SAFE began opening several branches throughout the region to better serve members and later SAFE finalized a merger with Sacramento-based Capital Power Credit Union in 2007. Another merger with American River HealthPro Credit Union in 2009 resulted in the opening of SAFE's 21st branch in Rancho Cordova.
In 2014, SAFE opened its Pleasant Hill mortgage lending office and moved its corporate headquarters from North Highlands to a larger building in Folsom, Calif., bringing employees from several locations under one roof. This new building has improved efficiencies and will accommodate SAFE's future growth.
Henry Wirz retired in 2016, transferring his responsibilities to current president and CEO Dave Roughton after 32 years of invaluable service. Under Wirz’s leadership, SAFE reached $2.3 billion in assets and 191,000 members. Roughton continues to foster the credit union’s growth, which includes the recent acquisition of deposit accounts from KeyPoint Credit Union members living in SAFE’s footprint.
SAFE holds the honor of being the second-largest credit union in the region, within the largest 25 in California, and within the largest 100 in the United States. Our mission is, and will always be, to help members improve their financial well-being, to provide excellent service, and to ensure a financially-sound credit union.