In 1952, when most Southern Pacific Employees had never heard or even dreamed of a Credit Union, Jake Fannin, a switchman, and his wife Mary Ellen knew of these things and had a strong desire to get a credit union started for Southern Pacific employees in Bakersfield. Mary already had considerable banking experience and with a little help and advice from the Kern County Teachers Credit Union, convinced a dozen Southern Pacific employees that a credit union for them would be a good thing indeed.
The group dug deep in their pockets and with a couple thousand dollars held their first meeting in the Fannin home. Their home actually became the office and headquarters for the credit union. The original members helped to fill all the officer and board positions. Slowly membership started to grow and today (2024) Espeeco has assets of $11.0 million*.
The idea must have been a good one as credit unions for Southern Pacific employees flourished after Bakersfield.“As they have grown, many of us feel very proud as this was not for ourselves, but for the people we worked with every day. I believe it was once said by a wise man, “If you build a better mousetrap, they will make a path to your door.” Espeeco has proven this over the years.
This brief history is attributed to Walt Williams, a founding member and former chairman and published in 1994. It originally appeared in the CU In The News monthly publication of the Kern Chapter of the California Credit Union League in 1994.
Espeeco Federal Credit Union of Bakersfield, CA has 1,500 members and assets of $12 million. The credit union, opened in 1954, has 3 full time employees, or 500 members per employee, compared to a national average of 457.