Established in 1935. Can’t get any more vintage than that.
Portland Gasco Federal Credit Union (today known as Trailhead Federal Credit Union) was founded in October 1935. It was during the great depression and there was a great need for small salary advances and loans. A group of 11 Portland Gas and Coke employees, with the approval of their company, organized the credit union to benefit all employees of the company.
The purpose of the credit union was to provide a safe place for fellow gas company employees to save and borrow money at reasonable rates. The maximum loan amount in 1935 was $50 for an unsecured loan and $100 for secured. The interest rate was 1% per month on the unpaid balance. Money went further then. The average cost of a new house was $3,450. Average wages were $1,600 per year. Gas cost 10 cents a gallon.
The credit union was located in the Public Service Building in downtown Portland. During the first year of service, the credit union gained assets of over $1200, a time when the maximum unsecured loan amount was $50 and the maximum secured loan was $100.
Portland Gasco Federal Credit Union changed their name on December 2, 1958 to Northwest Gasco Federal Credit Union to reflect the changes of their charter company. Portland Gas and Coke Company became NW Natural Gas Company and the credit union felt it was important to keep up with the changes of their charter company. The credit union changed their name once again on November 11, 1991, to Northwest Resource Federal Credit Union, to better reflect the growing diversity of the membership.
In 1963, NW Natural Gas Company moved it’s office to 123 NW Flanders and the credit union followed. Twenty years later, in 1983, the credit union again followed NW Natural and moved into the One Pacific Square building at 220 NW Second Avenue. Two years later, needing more space, the credit union moved across the street from the gas company to its current location at 221 NW Second Avenue.
The 1980s brought about many changes for the credit union, as the industry as a whole saw many changes. The credit union’s field of membership greatly expanded through several mergers with smaller credit unions and through offering credit union membership to the employees of other small companies in the area.
In July of 2002, the credit union received a charter to “serve the underserved” which expanded the field of membership to include anyone who lives, works, worships, or attends school in selected census tracts in Portland’s central city. In April of 2013, the charter was further expanded to serve anyone who lives, works, worships, or attends school in Multnomah county.
In June of 2013, Northwest Resource Federal Credit Union changed its name to Trailhead Credit Union in effort to better distinguish itself in the marketplace with a name that is easy to say, easy to remember, and stands out. Portland is treasured for its many urban and natural trails, so the name Trailhead resonates with both current and future members as the credit union helps them find their individual paths to financial success.
Trailhead Credit Union remains dedicated to supporting the community that we have been a part of for 80 years and rewarding the people who have helped us become who we are today.