There are many fascinating stories with origins in Los Alamos. Del Norte Credit Union’s is one of them. Originally chartered in 1954 as Los Alamos Scientific Laboratory Credit Union, we were born alongside the flourishing scientific community of Los Alamos, a critical hub of innovation during the Cold War era. In 1959, we evolved into the Los Alamos Scientific Laboratory Employees Credit Union. This pivotal period saw our membership grow to 2,717, mirroring the expansion of the “Secret City” who remained at the forefront of groundbreaking research and national defense development.
Our first full-time manager was hired. Things were happening very quickly. In 1963, we were the largest state chartered credit union.
By 1975, we had become Los Alamos Credit Union, and extended our field of membership to include all persons living or working in Los Alamos County. We experienced a major growth spurt with membership swelling to 16,825, and enjoyed a significant confidence boost by becoming federally insured by the National Credit Union Administration (NCUA).
Soon thereafter, the 1980s would bring big hair, blockbuster movies, and another great transformation for us — we became a community charter credit union, extending our reach to include those living in the surrounding communities of Los Alamos. Our merger with two other Credit Unions in Raton and Roswell during the early years of the 1980s (and later with the oldest credit union in New Mexico, Santa Fe Federal Employees Federal Credit Union in 1998), marked new significant milestones in our journey.
1999 arrived and the world was busy relabeling years with four digits to fend off a Y2K bug, the possibilities of a new millennium drove the digital revolution forward, and we embraced our current identity as Del Norte Credit Union (DNCU), reflecting our dedication to the northern New Mexico region. Today, DNCU proudly serves 60,666 members across four primary markets: Los Alamos, Española, Santa Fe, and Rio Rancho, and manages assets worth over $1.0 billion. While extending our services to other parts of the state, we remain focused on building and maintaining our cherished relationships in northern New Mexico.
At DNCU, we operate as a not-for-profit financial cooperative, owned by our members. Governed by a volunteer Board of Directors, we embody the principles of cooperation and democratic control. Our philosophy is not centered on maximizing profit but rather on improving lives in New Mexico and beyond. We strive for a balance between long-term sustainability and the needs of our members, the community, and regulatory requirements.
As we reflect on our past and look to the future, Del Norte Credit Union stands as a living testament to the enduring spirit of community and innovation that has characterized northern New Mexico, starting with those early years during the Cold War and extending to the rapidly evolving world of today. Del Norte Credit Union’s history is about much more than financial growth; it’s an inspiring story of what can be achieved when financial institutions adapt and grow alongside a dynamic community with deep roots in the Land of Enchantment.
DNCU is now a septuagenarian! Come celebrate the insights, experience, and commitment of your credit union as we ring in our 70th year serving in New Mexico. Keep an eye out for both an exciting member appreciation event coming soon to a DNCU branch near you and an invitation to our Annual Meeting.