NCUA Charter 8812 was approved in July 17, 1953 for the establishment of Cullendale Federal Credit Union. This new charter included the “Employees of International Paper company in the Southern Craft and Bag Divisions, who work in or have headquarters in Camden, Arkansas; employees of this credit union; members of their immediate families; and organizations of such persons. The first board of directors and credit union president were also employees of International Paper Company.
Cullendale Federal Credit Union held the first meeting of the Board of Directors on August 21st, 1953 in the local county court house with National Credit Union Representative, Mr. Hood, as the acting chairman. During this meeting the Board of Directors, Credit and Supervisory Committee members were selected. A motion was also made for Cullendale Federal Credit Union to seek membership in the Arkansas Credit Union League. The guidelines for the first loan policy were also established during this meeting. A unanimous vote was taken to charge an interest rate of 1% monthly for an unpaid loan balance with the maximum loan amount per member of $400.00. By March of 1961, Cullendale Federal Credit Union had exceeded one million dollars in assets and had 1521 members.
The 1970’s proved to be prosperous for Cullendale Credit Union having almost 1915 members by 1974 and reaching $3,513,805.63 in assets. However, it was in the 1980’s that Cullendale Federal Credit Union began to make a name for itself outside the walls of International Paper Company. Although board leadership still lead by International Paper Company employees, the Board of Directors made the decision to accept a merger agreement with the General Dynamics Credit Union and seek a change in the previous field of membership.
This field of membership change was the cornerstone in which our credit union is built today. The request approved September 1st, 1983 change the previous charter to a “community-type field of membership.” September 27th, 1983, the Board of Directors approved the amendment to the existing charter to include “Persons who reside or work in Ouachita County, Arkansas, or in Highland Industrial Park in Calhoun County, Arkansas; spouses of persons who died while within the field of membership of this credit union; employees of this credit union; persons retired as pensioners or annuitants from the above employment; member of their immediate families; and organizations of such persons. Section One of this charter agreement also changed the name of Cullendale Federal Credit Union to “River Valley Community Federal Credit Union.”
By November, 1984 River Valley Community Federal Credit Union had begun the process of opening its first branch location in East Camden, Arkansas, and by May 1985 this new location was open for business, making credit union services more accessible than ever before to our new “community” members.
May of 1986, the National Credit Union Administration approved merger with the Southwest Arkansas Federal Credit Union.
Due to the closure of the General Dynamics plant and the many manufacturing company employee layoffs and plant closure, it became necessary to close the East Camden Branch in November, 1994.
Another major manufacturer and our original core group, International Paper Company, closed its mill in Camden, this as well as the previous manufacturing downsizing prompted another petition for a change in our field of membership. February 8th, 2001 to the National Credit Union Administration approved the new field of membership to those having a common bond. “Persons who live, work, worship, attend school, and business and other legal entities in Ouachita County or who work in the Highland Industrial Park”, with the addition of the following counties as “underserved” areas, Dallas County, Calhoun County, Columbia County, and Union County.
Although economic changes in our Charter area would have made for difficult circumstances for many Credit Unions, the Board of Directors of River Valley Community Federal Credit Union have maintained their vision to provide service to each person eligible for membership in our charter area.
October, 1999 the Board of Directors had purchased property on Cash Road in Camden with an “uptown” branch in mind. However, with the closure of International Paper Company, it soon became apparent that this would be the new home for River Valley Community Federal Credit Union.
In a special called business meeting December, 2000 a unanimous vote was made to close the Cullendale Location and build one central location for River Valley Community Federal Credit Union. This was a huge step to move away from their previous International Paper Company roots.
The new building project began. The board had used local contractors to have a modular building place on our new property for a temporary workspace until our new building could be completed. March 6th, 2003 the contract was signed with HBE to build our new building. May of 2003, construction began. December 2003, River Valley Community Federal Credit Union was open for business in our new building.
This was quite a change from our humble beginnings in a shared space in the International Paper Company time office.
June, 2005, was the beginning of major change for River Valley Community Federal Credit Union. The solid foundation was in place and it was time to begin on a journey to become a true “Community Federal Credit Union.” Changes in leadership and management as well as departmentalization have proven instrumental in our progress toward the future.