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Humble Beginnings: A Credit Union Story

What you'll learn: Humble Beginnings: A Credit Union Story


You already know that PenFed offers jaw-dropping rates and amazing returns. But where did your credit union come from? How did PenFed become one of the strongest and safest financial institutions in the country, with over 1.2 million members and $16 billion in assets?

The Founding

Ten volunteers founded Pentagon Federal Credit Union in March 1935; it was originally known as the War Department Federal Credit Union. Even then, our purpose was clear:

“To promote thrift among its members, by affording them an opportunity for accumulating their savings; and to create for them a source of credit for loans for provident or productive purposes.”

Our original membership included civilian employees of the War Department and we were originally housed in the old Munitions Building on the Mall in Washington, DC.

Milestone Events

  • November 1942 – We moved to Pentagon building.
  • December 1947 – Our name changed to Pentagon Federal Credit Union.
  • August 1949 – We reached $1 million in assets.
  • August 1956 – Our membership expanded to include all Army and Air Force Commissioned and Warrant Officers.
  • September 1971 – Our first overseas branch opened and we reached 100,000 members.
  • June 1982 – We introduced the PenCheck account.
  • June 1984 – We reached $1 billion in assets.
  • December 1984 – We begin issuing credit cards.
  • March 1987 – First Mortgage and HELOC lending is authorized.
  • October 2001 – In the wake of 9/11, our Board authorizes the PenFed Foundation.
  • January 2007 – We reached $10 billion in assets.
  • December 2010 – We reached 1 million members.

Your PenFed Now

PenFed helped pave the way to online service. Because we’ve always served members of the military who may be stationed across the globe, we’re accustomed to helping individuals get quality financial products no matter where they are.

Our ongoing and relentless dedication to our members and our steadfast principles supporting financial responsibility results in a credit union that you can rely on. Our members are our owners, our community, and our top priority, always.

We are a worldwide, 24-hour, 7-day-a-week financial institution. You can access our services through and get the latest news from our Facebook Page. You can know that your money is safe with PenFed.

Your own dedication to financial responsibility has earned you some of the best rates in the nation, and PenFed works hard every day to deliver that reward. We look forward to serving you, as always.


The credit union is federally insured by the National Credit Union Association