There was a time when membership in a credit union was limited to certain groups: federal workers; the employees in a specific union and its related industries; state employees.
Arizona State Credit Union was originally just for state employees, said manager Julia Thompson.
"Now we have a community charter and everyone in Northern Gila County can be a member," she said.
Payson has been home to the Arizona State Credit Union for six years and the business has been at the same site -- 104 E. Highway 260 -- all that time.
Thompson's staff includes Diane McCord, Sandra Smith and Natasha Van Donselaar. There are also specialists that come up to help members. A mortgage specialist is at the credit union every Thursday and a financial adviser comes up once a month, but will also take appointments to help with retirement planning.
"We have strong member focus," Thompson said.
"Our goal is to provide products and services our members can actually use."
Among the services provided by Arizona State Credit Union are checking accounts with direct deposit available, regular savings and club (savings) accounts, tiered money market accounts and share certificates. The staff can help determine the perfect account for a member's needs.
Online and telephone banking services are offered, along with nearly fee-free credit. Arizona State Credit Union also has a variety of business banking services available.
"Our member loyalty is strong, due to the warmth and neighborliness of the staff," McCord, the newest member of the staff, said.
"We offer personalized service. We fit our products to our members," Thompson said.
"Credit unions are the best kept secret in the financial world," she added.
The staff keeps Arizona State Credit Union community-oriented, as well. This is the second year it has participated in the angel tree program for area foster children.
"We had 100 percent return last year," Thompson said. Some members even came in for more names, as they had so much fun shopping.
The angel tree at Arizona State Credit Union will be in place until Dec. 21, Thompson said. Come in, pick a name or two and bring back the gift requests unwrapped.