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Self-Help Credit Union

United Savings Federal Credit Union: A Legacy of Serving Steel Workers

United Savings FCU at a Glance:

Original Name: 
Columbia Steel Employees Credit Union

Tom Becker and employees of Columbia Steel Mill

Year Founded:

Year of Merger with Self-Help:

Original Founding Location: 
Pittsburg, California

United Savings Federal Credit Union joined the Self-Help family of credit unions in 2010, bringing with it a long history of serving steel workers and members of the Pittsburg, California community. 

Chartered in 1935, the credit union was originally named Columbia Steel Employees Credit Union because of its connection to the Columbia Steel Mill.  It was founded by Tom Becker, an employee in the Production Planning Office at the mill, in conjunction with a group of other employees who wanted to provide affordable financial services to the mill workers. 

When Columbia Steel was purchased by U.S. Steel, the name of the credit union changed to U.S. Steel Employees Credit Union. Nevertheless, the mission of the credit union to offer quality financial services to the employees of the Pittsburg mill remained unchanged.

At the height of the mill's activity in the 1960s, over 10,000 people were employed, most of whom banked with the credit union. The credit union eventually filed for and received a federal charter, and was then able to serve a larger member base.  At this time, the name was changed to United Savings Federal Credit Union.  While the steel workers continued to represent a large portion of the membership base, additional employer/employee groups were invited to join.

In 1983 the credit union merged with Continental 80 FCU, and in 1984 it merged with Berkeley Gazette FCU, all while keeping the name of United Savings Federal Credit Union.

Today, the credit union remains tied to the traditions set forth from its early history at the steel mill.

In this six-minute video, we interview people who have been members of the credit union for over 40 years and learn from a former CEO about how the credit union supported workers during steel strikes. The video includes a mix of contemporary and archival photos, and inspiring stories from people who consider the credit union “like family.”


Photo Gallery