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Pasadena Federal Credit Union Opens New Branch

89 year-old credit union expands local banking services

Published on Friday, January 27, 2023 | 5:57 am

Pasadena Federal Credit Union Board of Directors Chair Doug Duong cuts the ribbon at PFCU’s new North Lake Avenue branch on Thursday, Jan. 26, 2023, surrounded by civic and city officials. [Eddie Rivera / Pasadena Now]
Sometime in 1934, as the Arroyo Seco Parkway was just opening up from Downtown LA into Pasadena, and after the passage of the Federal Credit Union Act, 12 “astute” Pasadena employees pooled their savings in order to take advantage of the new financial tool, an alternative to traditional banks, and form what was to become the Pasadena Federal Credit Union, known as PFCU.

Their total initial contribution? $80.

Since then, that $80 has grown into over $250 million in assets. The PFCU opened its latest branch at 1285 North Lake Avenue near Washington Blvd. with a Chamber of Commerce  ribbon-cutting celebration on Thursday afternoon.  

The Federal Credit Union Act was enacted during the depths of the Great Depression, in 1934. The law enabled credit unions to be organized throughout the United States under charters approved by the federal government. The purpose of the federal law was to make credit available to Americans and promote thrift through a national system of nonprofit, cooperative credit unions.

The opening attracted a host of local political and business leaders, including Mayor Victor Gordo, Councilmemnbers Tyron Hampton and Jess Rivas, Police Chief Eugene Harris, and Fire Chief Chad Augustin, as well as members of the Pasadena Federal Credit Union executive board.

“Today is a historic day for us,” said CEO Peter Sainato. “We are celebrating the opening of our first branch in over four decades.” 

Sainato added, “This is truly a community credit union, and the members of the community are the true owners here. They are very integrated into everything. The support we get from the membership is just magnificent.” 

While the membership originally drew from Pasadena employees, the PFCU has expanded into other San Gabriel Valley communities, including South Pasadena and Sierra Madre. Members of other community groups such as the Friends of the Pasadena Library are also eligible for membership. 

Both Mayor Gordo and Councilmember Hampton spoke to the lack of brick and mortar banks in the area, as they lauded the opening of the new branch. 

Said Gordo, “This new branch means access in a part of the city that needs access. I think it’s a terrific idea, and on behalf of the residents who live in Northwest Pasadena, it’s great to have a place that provides banking services right here in the neighborhood.”

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