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Sierra Central, like many credit unions, was formed to serve our military personnel. Beale Credit Union opened in 1955 when fifteen members of the Air Force each invested one hundred dollars to form the credit union that would serve military and civilian personnel. Fifty-three years later Beale AFB is an integral part of the Sierra Central family.
The next step in our history took place in 1963 when the Shasta Cascade Credit Union was chartered in Redding, California. Its membership base included city, county, hospital and lumber industry employees.
Beale and Shasta Cascade merged in 1981 forming what is now known as the Sierra Central Credit Union. The core of our current financial institution had 25,841 members, $29 million in assets and a $22 million loan portfolio.
The newly formed credit union experienced a decade of rapid growth, merging with 22 other credit unions. Membership rose to 75,000 by 1991, assets increased to $182 million and the organization boasted a loan portfolio of $182 million.
Sierra Central converted to a Community Charter in 1994. The change allowed our financial institution to expand membership beyond its more restrictive employee group limitations.
Assets continued to grow during the next five years, reaching $242 million in 1999. Membership dropped to 65,609 during the same period. In late 1998 and early 1999 key staff members left the organization, creating a nine-month leadership void.
Late in 1999, the Board of Directors took the first step in what some still call a miraculous