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SAFE Credit Union History

SAFE Credit Union has served its members with honesty, integrity, and innovative solutions since 1940. Throughout its 75-year history, SAFE has grown from 10 founding members to more than 183,000 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, California, 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, 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, and 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. Since Wirz has taken the helm at SAFE, the credit Union has more than quadrupled its membership to 183,000 current members and now manages $2.1 billion in assets.

To further its continuing growth, SAFE merged with McClellan Federal Credit Union in 1996, expanding its membership to include McClellan military personnel.

In 1998, SAFE members voted for conversion to a State Charter, furthering the credit union's reach beyond its aviation heritage to provide banking services to the Greater Sacramento community. 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 Greater Sacramento area to better serve members. To further its growth, 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.

Four years later, In February 2013, President and CEO Henry W. Wirz handed off the title of president to current President and Chief Operating Officer Dave Roughton. The expansion continued with Wirz as CEO and Roughton as President and COO. With the opening of our branch in Pleasant Hill in 2014, SAFE now operates 22 full-service branches and a call center.

In August 2014, SAFE moved its corporate headquarters from North Highlands to a larger building in Folsom, California to bring employees from several locations under one roof. This new building has improved efficiencies and will accommodate SAFE's future growth.

Always dedicated to offering members exceptional experiences, the best solutions, and professional experts, SAFE has implemented cutting-edge technologies and Online and Mobile Banking solutions prior to many other financial institutions. Currently, SAFE experts from various departments are exploring how to best serve members far into the future.

Creating the branch of the future is just one way SAFE works to anticipate and meet the evolving needs of its members. Next year, SAFE will celebrate 76 years of providing affordable and innovative financial solutions to its members.

SAFE holds the honor of being the second largest credit union in the Sacramento 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.

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