50 Years of Excellence

Spirit of Alaska Federal Credit Union (SoAFCU) is proud to celebrate 50 years of service to the Fairbanks community.

University origins...

SoAFCU was originally a small credit union located in the Viking Room of Constitution Hall, University of Alaska Fairbanks. The credit union was started with $32 in a metal cash box that four teachers chipped into: Niilo Koponen, Stan Sailors, Don Wheat and Bill O'Dell. These four teachers wanted an alternative financial institution from the two banks in town (and the ever present loan sharks). Hence, in 1960 the "Greater Fairbanks Teacher's Credit Union" was chartered to operate for the service and benefit of its member teachers; not simply for a profit.

Without any employees, the Credit Union operated out of the desk drawer of one of the members. In the 1960's, teachers did not make very much money. Most of the recruitment for the new credit union was done through word of mouth. The membership fee to join was kept at a low $5.00 (which is still true today), and the credit union began to grow beyond the metal cash box.The idea of teachers having their own financial institution rapidly caught on.

To reflect the growing field of membership, the name was changed in 1975 to "Northern Schools Federal Credit Union." As our member base continued to expand and to facilitate the growth of the credit union, we became "Spirit of Alaska Federal Credit Union" in 2007.

Today SoAFCU serves over 10,000 members. There are approximately 65 employees staffing three branches and Mortgage Lending, Consumer Lending and Business Lending. SoAFCU has experienced steady growth and continues to strive to provide its members with quality service. All this from a humble beginning, $32 in a metal cash box, four dedicated teachers and a need for something more than loan sharks.

A special thank you to our loyal members who have stayed with us since the inception of the credit union in 1960. We are looking forward to another 50 years of excellent service to our community.

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