Self-Help Shares

United Services CU: A Family History

  | Sep 19, 2019

USCU sign photoWhen Self-Help merged with United Services Credit Union in Asheville six years ago, we were excited to be partnering with a credit union that had a mission similar to ours. We were also impressed with United Service’s long history of dedicated service to its members.

To help preserve that history, we’ve created a short (7 minute) video about the history of United Services. We invite you to watch it here: United Services: Building Credit, Building Lives.

The many credit unions that came together to become United Services have roots in a number of different cities and industries. Although we couldn’t cover all of this rich history in one video, we’re glad to share a bit of the family history below!

Hospital Employees in Asheville

aerial view of Mission Hospital in 1965Photo: An aerial view of Memorial Mission Hospital in 1954.

Decades ago, hospital workers at two hospitals in Asheville recognized that hospital employees needed better financial services, so they founded their own credit unions: Mission Memorial Hospital CU in 1954, and St. Joseph’s Hospital CU in in 1972. In 1977, these two credit unions merged to become Asheville Hospitals Credit Union, expanding their services to include health care workers across Asheville.

Old Fort Finishing Plant Employees

Old Fort Finishing PlantPhoto: The front entrance to the Old Fort Finishing Plant.

Old Fort Finishing Employees CU was founded by plant workers at the Old Fort Finishing Plant in 1948. The credit union provided valuable services for its members for many years, but when the plant closed in the 1980s, the credit union needed a new home.

It found that home in 1985, with a merger with Asheville Hospitals Credit Union. The merger prompted a name change from Asheville Hospitals CU to United Services CU, reflecting the fact that the credit union now served members working in a variety of industries, not just healthcare.

Carolina Mills Employees and Henredon Furniture Plant Employees

Carolina Mills in Maiden, NCPhoto: The original Carolina Mills facility in Maiden, NC.

In April 2009, another credit union joined the United Services family: Financial Partners CU, with branches in Morganton, Maiden, Lexington, and Galax, VA.

Financial Partners CU’s roots were also in workplace credit unions: Carolina Mills employees in Maiden, NC, formed Carolina Mills CU in 1974, and employees at the Henredon Furniture Plant formed the Henredon Employees Credit Association in Morganton, NC in the early 1970s. Henredon Employees Credit Association later became Financial Partners Credit Union.

old aerial photo of Henredon Furniture plant in MorgantonPhoto: An aerial view of the Henredon Furniture plant in Morganton, NC.

Carolina Mills produced flannel, yarn and other textiles for many years, starting from one plant employing 110 people and growing to a major producer with over 2,500 employees. Henredon Furniture was another major employer in Western North Carolina for many years, employing 2,600 people at its peak. The company closed its Morganton plant at the end of 2007, and Carolina Mills CU merged with Financial Partners CU in 2006.

Joining the Self-Help Family

United Services in the old daysPhoto: An undated photo of the teller line at a United Services CU branch in Asheville, NC.

These many credit unions joined together over the years in part because they recognized they had a similar mission: to give their members opportunities. United Services and Self-Help CU likewise saw kindred spirits in each other when they decided to merge in 2013. We’re grateful to have this connection to United Service’s long history in Western North Carolina.

USCU Family Tree GraphicPhoto: The rich family tree of United Services CU.

The United Services video that covers just a bit of this wonderful history is the 10th in our video series, “Stories from Our Vault.” The series is our effort to document the extraordinary histories of many of the credit unions that have merged in with us. We invite you to watch them all!

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