Celebrating 85 years at Fox Communities Credit Union
Looking back at 85 years of helping members make life happen
Most companies change up taglines or mottos often throughout the years, and Fox Communities Credit Union is no different. However, even though the words that make up Fox’s tagline have changed over the years, the meaning behind the motto has remained the same for each and every one of the credit union’s 85 years of service — helping members make life happen.
The tale of Fox Communities Credit Union begins as if pulled straight from the pages of an inspiring children’s storybook. A group of workers at the Combined Locks Mill pooled their funds together to form the Combined Locks Credit Union on October 15, 1937. Their goal: provide loans to their fellow workers in need and have ownership over where they kept their deposit accounts. And their first loan showed exactly what kind of credit union they were going to build together, as what would eventually become Fox Communities Credit Union provided a fellow mill worker with a loan to help him buy Christmas presents for his family.
With people in need and the newly formed credit union ready to help, growth was all but assured — and that’s exactly what happened. Within the first two years of forming, the credit union had amassed 213 members. But that was only the beginning.
As word spread throughout the mill regarding the good work the credit union was doing, more and more workers left their banks to become members — leading to the credit union achieving a milestone of $1 million in assets in 1974, followed by the opening of its first standalone branch in 1980. And those events mean only one thing for the credit union: the ability to provide more loans to help its members make life happen.
The year 1980 was a big one for the soon-to-be Fox Communities Credit Union. With more members joining by the day and its first branch open and operational, it was time for the “Little Credit Union that Could” to grow into the shining beacon of financial hope that it is today. And that all started on December 15, 1980, when Greg Hilbert was named President and CEO.
“It was really inspiring to be hired by a volunteer board of directors whose sole purpose was to help people,” Hilbert recalled. “The independent ownership by members and the ability to make decisions with the member in mind was really motivating for our team and enabled us to make a difference for people, and it was fun!”
Not only did Hilbert help the credit union’s team of four reach $3 million in assets, but he also oversaw the change to Fox Communities Credit Union — a new name chosen by members through a naming contest in 1987.
It took no time at all to make “communities” the most important part of Fox Communities Credit Union, with the group reaching $23 million in assets and opening a second location in 1989.
After 40 years of success with Fox, including being named the top-performing credit union in the nation by S&P Global Market Intelligence in 2017, Hilbert retired and Chris Allen took the helm in 2020.
Allen has overseen Fox’s transition to the future by creating more digital banking opportunities for its members, therefore increasing the convenience provided by the credit union. And the community support Fox has been known for since its humble beginnings in a mill is still going strong.
“Once people start to really truly understand what it means to bank at a credit union, that value proposition almost sells itself — because you are an owner,” Allen said. “If you do your banking with us and put $5 here, you are an owner, and we have no other reason for existence other than to provide our owners the best financial services we can.”
Fox Communities Credit Union is a full-service, not-for-profit financial institution serving members throughout Eastern Wisconsin, including Appleton, Green Bay, Oshkosh, Manitowoc, and Milwaukee.