The early 1940s
Our membership began when Commonwealth Edison established separate credit unions for each of its departments in the early 1940s. In theory, the idea worked, but in practice, it was a different story. When the company dissolved its credit unions, a handful of employees took it upon themselves to keep the idea of a financial cooperative alive. Their innovations paid off. Not only did they receive $5,000 and some office space and equipment from ComEd, they also gained approval from the Department of Financial Institutions to incorporate a credit union.
In 1944 we were born as Edison Credit Union
On February 7, 1944, Edison Credit Union was born. By the end of that year, we served 1,169 Commonwealth Edison employees and had more than $88,000 in assets.
The next 5 decades of growth
- With the 1950s came the convenience of conducting business by phone and mail.
- In the '60s, we commemorated our silver anniversary, and slow and steady growth continued.
- The '70s were a turning point, as an innovative new convenience for ComEd employees was added: payroll deduction. Membership soared, and throughout the next two decades, we were able to leverage economies of scale by offering more products and services more cost effectively than ever.
- In the 1980s, we began offering our members the financial freedom of Visa® Credit Cards, IRAs, ATM cards, and home equity loans
- In 1992, we rolled out online banking to our members, to a rousing success. Also in the '90s, we absorbed a number of smaller credit unions, gaining new members as well as nearly $34 million in assets.
Opened our new downtown branch at 230 West Monroe.
In 1999 we became First Northern Credit Union
1999 proved to be a watershed year for us, as we made a strategic decision that would change the world of Edison Credit Union forever: we requested a community charter. The Department of Financial Institutions granted our request, enabling us to serve consumers who lived or worked in a seven-county area in northern Illinois. And so, a new corporate identity was born. On July 1, 1999, Edison Credit Union became First Northern Credit Union. With the new name came a renewed spirit.
Headed up by a strong leadership, we opened our doors to consumers in the greater Rockford area, ultimately establishing two full-service branches. We also began serving one of our key partners — the employees of Northwestern Medicine.
Northwestern University Credit Union, founded in the 1930s, became a part of First Northern, allowing us the opportunity to serve faculty, staff, students and alumni of Northwestern University and Northwestern Medicine. To do so, we opened a branch location in the basement of the Rebecca Crown Center on the campus of Northwestern University in Evanston.
Also in 2003 we began offering mortgage products to our vast membership, bring the dream of home ownership to many.
After being housed in the basement of the Rebecca Crown Center on the campus of Northwestern University since 2003, we moved to a new and more spacious street level site at 726 Clark Street. This move allowed the credit union to be more accessible and convenient to the University's students, faculty and staff.
We relocated from our location on Erie Street and opened our Streeterville branch, on the campus of Northwestern Medicine.
We relocated our Northwestern University location on Clark Street and opened our off-campus Evanston branch, just around the corner from Northwestern University.
We expanded our field of membership allowing us to serve Cook County North of I-55 and Lake County, Illinois.
With mortgage demand growing, we expanded our mortgage operations and opened our Mortgage Service Center in Rockford on Stalter Drive.
We hold over $370 million in assets — and we’re growing every day! We proudly serve the needs of those who live or work throughout northern Illinois and provide exceptional customer service and financial products to more than 23,000 member-owners.
As a financial cooperative, First Northern Credit Union will serve the financial needs and strive to improve the financial well-being of its participating members.
To continue growing as a successful community credit union by meeting the needs of our members.
Credit unions and banks offer many of the same products and services but differ in many ways.
Why bank with First Northern?
- We’re a not-for-profit organization, governed by a board of unpaid volunteer members.
- As a member, serving you is our number one priority.
- Our members are more than just an account number — they’re part owners.
- All profits are returned to you, our members, not to investors.
- Members benefit from lower or non-existent fees, higher deposit rates, and more competitive loan rates.
- Based in the Chicagoland area, our teams are made up of decision makers who truly understand our community.
- As a credit union, we’re driven by the “People Helping People” philosophy.
- Your financial wellness one of our main focuses. Members benefit from free seminars, access to like-minded organizations such as BALANCE, and other innovative forms of assistance.
- Your membership with us lasts a lifetime — even if you move, change jobs, or retire. What’s more, your First Northern benefits can be passed down generation to generation.
- Your funds are federally insured by the National Credit Union Administration (NCUA) for up to $250,000 and backed by the full faith and credit of the United States Government.
Help Us Lead the Way
If you’re looking for a fulfilling career with an industry-leading company that is leading the way in serving the community, look no further!
First Northern Credit Union serves 14 counties across northern Illinois as one of the largest, healthiest, and most progressive credit unions in the state. Because we’re owned and operated by our members, we work for them, not stockholders. In turn, we deliver our employees competitive salary, generous benefits, growth opportunities, and a career that gives back.
We know that by serving our employees well, we can serve our members well. We offer perks and benefits including health, dental, a 401(k) plan, paid time off, paid holidays, and growth potential. If you are ready to advance your career while working with an incredible team, send your resume and cover letter to HRCareers@fncu.org or view our open positions.
View Open Positions
Board of Directors
- Gerald Partch, Chairman
- Clinton Morris, Vice Chairman
- Heather Johnson, Treasurer
- James Torres, Secretary
- Jie Chu, Director
- Brandy Gobert, Director
- Michael Houselog, Director
- Glenn Kaleta, Director
- Marco Lenis, Director
- Sridip Mukhopadhyaya, Director
- Richard O’Toole, Director
- Robert Poggensee, Director
- James Poskozim, Director
- David Rasner, Director
- Charles Walls, Director
Senior Leadership Team
- Edward C. Berg, President/CEO
- Alex Malone, Senior Vice President
- Christopher M. Durkin, Vice President of Service
- Paul A. Biles, Vice President of Financial Services
- James P. Grevenites, Vice President of Finance/Accounting