People helping People Build Financial Success.
Our Core Values
We stand behind our word and consistently do the right thing.
Caring for and responding to member, employee and community needs.
Striving to achieve the highest level of performance in everything we do.
CSE Federal Credit Union was established on December 7, 1943 when the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation, in accordance with the Federal Credit Union Act, granted the charter. The original field of membership consisted of the employees of Cities Service Refining Corporation, the employees of CSE Federal Credit Union, members of their immediate families and organizations of such persons.
At the first official board meeting on January 6, 1944 the board of directors set maximum limits of $100 per loan and $500 per share account. At the end of 1944 the young credit union had 201 members with share deposits of $1,854 and loans outstanding of $1,180.
The credit union struggled in 1945 as only twenty-one new members were added. Board members pleaded with co-workers at Cities Service to join the credit union to keep it going. Total share deposits were $1,695 and total loans were $1,365 by the end of the year.
In 1946, maximum share limits were adjusted to $500 for a single account, $1,000 for a joint account and $250 for a minor account. By the end of 1946 membership had grown to 375, share deposits to $3,785, and loans outstanding to $3,470. The credit union was growing.
In 1947 the share limit increased to $750 for single accounts and the loan limit was increased to 10 percent of paid-in capital. Payroll deduction was offered for the first time. Since both loan and share totals had reached $10,000, the first dividend of 4 percent was paid to the stakeholders.
From 1948 through 1951 all credit union business was conducted from Dick and Mary Freeman’s home. A 6% annual dividend was paid on shares for 1948.
In 1949 the share limit was increased to $2,500 per adult and $1,000 per minor. The field of membership was amended to include employees of CIT-CON Oil Corporation. A dividend of 4% was paid for the year to the 492 members of record. CSE had assets of $72,000.
In 1951 the operations moved from the Freeman’s home to a basement office in the Change House at the Cities Service Refinery, where it remained until 1961.
In 1957, after 14 years in operation, CSE Federal Credit Union reached $1 million in assets. The share limit was raised to $10,000 plus accumulated dividends in 1958. In that same year, the by-laws were amended to include Petroleum Chemicals Incorporated into the field of membership.
In. 1959, the credit union reached $2 million assets, paid semi-annual dividends for the first time and raised the signature loan limit to $750.
In 1960 membership increased to 3,000 members, land was purchased on Cities Service Highway for a new office building and the credit union started offering real estate loans to members. The credit union paid for the appraisal and abstract update fees on real estate loans.
In 1961 a new office building on Cities Service Highway was built and occupied. Also that year, the board approved a 5% interest refund to loan borrowers for the first time.
In 1962 CSE began furnishing credit life insurance up to $10,000 on all loans free of charge to members.
In 1967 a no-fee travelers’ checks program was started, all insurance coverage was changed to CUNA Mutual Insurance, and the field of membership was expanded to include retirees of the employer groups within the field of membership.
In 1968 CSE’s 25th Anniversary was celebrated at year-end with total membership of 3,494 and assets of over $4 million. In the first twenty-five years of operation over $35 million in loans had been granted to the credit union’s members. The signature loan limit was increased to $2,500.
In 1974 the credit union’s bylaws were amended to define “members of the immediate family” as all relatives by blood or marriage living under the same roof and in the same household as the member/employee of a sponsoring company.
In 1975 a dividend of 6% on deposits was paid, and a 20% interest refund was paid to borrowers.
The loan-to-share ratio reached 98% in 1979. Share Certificates were offered for the first time. The share deposit limit was increased to $100,000.
In 1982 discussions began with CIT-CON Employees Credit Union to determine the feasibility of a merger with CSE Federal Credit Union. After negotiation, a plan was approved by the NCUA and the Louisiana State Department of Banking allowing the two credit unions to merge effective January 1, 1983.
Also in 1982, the NCUA revised the regulations governing credit unions and allowed companies that did not have credit union services to be added to the field of membership of existing credit unions. Several select employer groups were added to CSE’s field of membership, strengthening the credit union and allowing it to weather any layoffs, strikes, and economic downturns that might occur. By the end of 1983, CSE’s 40th year in operation, assets had grown to $22.3 million. In the next five years assets doubled to over $45 million.
During the Gulf War in 1991 the credit union suspended interest on all loans to members in the military who were called to active duty.
In 1992, as membership, loans, deposits and services increased, the need for a bigger facility to accommodate that growth was apparent. Land was purchased from Citgo on Swisco Road in Sulphur and in 1993 construction began on a new office building.
CSE’s 50th Anniversary in 1994 was truly a landmark year. The credit union moved into the new office on Swisco Road in September, assets reached $100 million and the membership grew to 14,000.
ATM cards were introduced to members in 1997 to provide more convenient access to cash. In 1998 the credit union launched its website, www.csefcu.org and assets climbed to $127 million.
In November 2000 the credit union’s membership surpassed 20,000 and in April 2001 loans outstanding reached $100 million for the first time in the credit union’s history. By the end of that year assets jumped to $156.3 million and deposits to $135.5 million.
Several landmark decisions were made at a special board meeting in November 2004. The board voted to expand CSE’s services beyond shares and loans to include share-draft (checking) accounts, debit cards, online bill pay and eventually credit cards. The board also voted to buy land in Lake Charles and to build a new main office there. Land was soon found and building plans started to develop. Because the construction phase would last at least 12-14 months, a temporary Lake Charles branch was also planned and a location for it was sought.
In August 2005, CSE introduced free share-draft checking accounts, debit cards and online bill pay to its members. But before widespread use of the new products started, Hurricane Rita paid a visit to southwest Louisiana and planning for the new office was suspended for a few months. After much deliberation, the board made the decision to proceed with the construction of the new main office. The temporary branch opened in mid-2006 on Nelson Road in Lake Charles, just in front of the construction site.
The new main office of CSE Federal Credit Union at 4321 Nelson Road in Lake Charles was opened to members in August 2008 and the new CSE logo was unveiled at the Grand Opening the following October. At the end of 2008, assets reached $235 million and membership grew to 28,300.
A lot happened in 2010. Early in the year the credit union introduced money market deposit accounts to its product lineup, and later that year added a high dividend rewards checking account. Member business lending was implemented, giving member-owned businesses access to competitive loan products. Also that year land was purchased in Moss Bluff for a future branch for existing and new members in that thriving community. Assets at the end of 2010 had grown to $267 million with deposits of $233.9 million and 30,900 members. CSE was serving employees and family members of almost 300 select employee groups.
A complete renovation of the 19-year-old office on Swisco Road in Sulphur was begun in 2013 and a re-grand opening was held there in the summer of 2014. Shortly thereafter construction began on a new branch in Moss Bluff.
The Moss Bluff Branch opened to members in June 2015. By the end of 2015 CSE was serving over 500 select employee groups.
In February 2016 CSE reached the $200 million mark in loans outstanding to members. The following month a CSE Credit Card program was rolled out to the membership. Deposits were at $253.4 million and assets were at $293.8 million.
On March 28, 2017 CSE was granted a Community Charter by the NCUA, with the credit union’s new field of membership being “Persons who live, work (or regularly conduct business in), worship, or attend school in, and businesses and other legal entities in Calcasieu, Cameron, or Jefferson Davis Parishes, Louisiana, a rural district. This opened the credit union’s services to more than 231,000 people living and working in the 3-parish area.
In July of 2017 CSE was approached by representatives of the South Jennings Catholic Federal Credit Union with a request to merge with CSE in order to provide the 654 members of that credit union with more credit union products and services. The merger was approved by the NCUA and on March 1, 2018, the merger became official.
In February 2018, CSE’s assets surpassed the $300 million mark, with deposits of $268.5 million. Also in March 2018, CSE implemented its first call center, with 5 staff members answering member phone calls. In August the credit union signed a lease agreement on a building on Elton Road in Jennings, LA to be renovated and opened as a new CSE branch office. In October CSE rolled out a new, more user-friendly version of CSE Online.
Thanks to eleven visionary subscribers who started the credit union in 1943 and who had the courage to continue the operation in 1945 in the face of adversity, CSE has become a viable, member-oriented financial institution that is one of the largest credit unions in Louisiana.