Our History

Union Federal was once two different Associations with similar goals. Union Federal “Where People Are Important!” First Federal where customers were “First with us.” Both Associations have had long solid history before the boards of each Association found we could serve our customers best by coming together as one Association. Below is our journey of helping our customers achieve their success in home ownership and savings.

Kewanee Federal Savings and Loan Association was organized in the city of Kewanee, IL on October 30, 1882. The first main office of Kewanee Federal was on West First Street, next door to the current Union Federal location.

In November of 1890, Union Federal Savings and Loan Association was organized in the city of Kewanee, Illinois with a State Charter and capitalized with $11,000. The original name of the association was Union Building and Loan Association. It was started by six people with the purpose to encourage home ownership. Since Union Federal was established as a mutually owned thrift, it allowed members to pool their savings to provide home ownership. In 1936, the Association changed to a Federal Charter and became federally insured by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC).

In 1925, Union Federal built a two story building at 106 N. Tremont Street in Kewanee. This building served the Association well until growth necessitated an expansion. In 1959, plans were announced for a new building to be built adjacent to the existing building. This building provided over 4,400 square feet of much needed space.

A new main branch building for Kewanee Federal Savings and Loan was constructed on the corner of Main and W. Central Boulevard in 1963. At this time Kewanee Federal’s name was legally changed to First Federal Savings and Loan Association.

In 1974, Union Federal initiated a branching strategy by opening an associate office in Milan, Illinois which expanded the savings and lending opportunities for the Association. In the next three and a half years, Union Federal opened four additional associate offices in the Quad Cities area.  First Federal initiated a branching strategy during the same year in communities surrounding Kewanee. 

In 1991 Union Federal’s corporate office was added onto as part of a drive-up expansion. The addition more than doubled the size of the corporate office, and provided a unique feature with a 5,000 gallon five star atrium located in the building's mid-section. This atrium provided a home for two North American river otters named Oscar and Andy.

Oscar and Andy were our playful residents at Union Federal from August 5, 1991 until September 19, 2010. Each were a joy to watch and provided many wonderful memories for the staff of Union Federal, our customers, children of the community, and other visitors from near and far. They came from Theriot, Louisiana which is located on the Gulf of Mexico. They were approximately 1 1/2 years old when they came to Kewanee. Local area school children named the animals through an environmental essay contest. During their lives they helped educate our community on clean water and conservation. Both Oscar and Andy brought an unusual but charming aspect to Kewanee. Currently we have chosen not to replace the otters, but we are keeping their exhibit area open as a water feature. In 2017 we installed new wall art in the lobby to help us and our customers remember the fond memories of our two friends.

The original Union Federal Orion office was replaced with new brick buildings in 1997 to better serve the community. Union Federal has been actively involved in lending in the Madison area since the early 90s. In 2006, Union Federal opened an associate office in Madison, Wisconsin. This new office allowed the Association to expand this lending, and also establish a savings presence in the area.

Union Federal has always offered mortgage products, but has expanded upon them over the years by offering many new and different lending products from home equity loans to savings account loans.

Historically, the primary vehicle for savings was the savings passbook account. Union Federal still offers a savings passbook account today. The Association has added many savings products over the years to keep pace with our customer's ever changing needs. In the 60s, Congress passed legislation to allow us to offer Certificate of Deposit accounts. Today, we offer maturities ranging from 91 days to 5 years. In 1979, again Congress passed legislation allowing Union Federal to begin offering checking accounts to its customers. The Association now offers many different types of checking accounts designed to meet customer's needs. In 1995, Union Federal installed its first Automated Teller Machine, and began offering ATM cards and Debit cards. After receiving many requests from its customers, the Association began offering on-line banking in 2007.

In July of 2015 First Federal and Union Federal announced plans to merge into a single Association. The surviving name was chosen as Union Federal Saving and Loan Association. Both Associations saw this as an opportunity to combine two organizations with similar cultures and similar goals to benefit customers. The merger allowed the combined Association to adopt additional technologies such as Mobile Apps, e-Statements, BillPay, Mobile Deposit, and more.

Over the course of time Union Federal has evolved and adapted as a financial institution since the eighteen hundreds. The Association has been proactive in serving its customer needs by keeping an eye to the future. Union Federal has continued to fulfill its original mission of promoting thrift and low cost home ownership, while always trying to live up to our motto of being the place "Where People are Important".


Where People Are Important

Where People Are Important!

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