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The credit union first expanded beyond its military roots in 1974, when it was authorized to serve the employees of companies building the Trans Alaska oil pipeline. In only four years, more than 20,000 pipeline technicians, welders, truck drivers and other personnel opened member accounts.
During this same period, the credit union's field of membership was broadened to include the shareholders of ten of Alaska's Native regional corporations established under the 1971 Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act. The authority to serve the corporations' shareholders was to expire in 1978. However, after three extensions, Congress took action in 1981 to allow the credit union to continue serving Alaska Natives on a permanent basis. This is the first and only time the U.S. Congress has enacted legislation to authorize a credit union to serve a specific group of individuals.
As Alaska USA expanded its services and branch network, it became an attractive merger partner for smaller credit unions. Between 1979 and 1996, Alaska USA became the credit union of choice for the members of six Alaska credit unions. Additionally, in 1981, Alaska USA was selected by the Department of Defense and the National Credit Union Administration (NCUA) as the credit union to serve U.S. military personnel at Clark Air Base in the Philippines. Service continued until the closure of the base as a result of the eruption of Mount Pinatubo in 1991.
Alaska USA entered the Pacific Northwest market in 1983 with the merger of Whidbey Federal Credit Union in Oak Harbor, Washington. This was followed by the merger of two Seattle-based credit unions, giving Alaska USA a strong presence in that area and enhancing geographic diversification of the credit union's membership base.
The foothold established by these mergers, together with a commitment to serve Western Washington employer and association groups, resulted in a significant expansion of the Alaska USA branch network and subsidiary service offerings into the Pacific Northwest. In 2009, Alaska USA acquired High Desert Federal Credit Union and The Members Own Federal Credit Union in California's Victor Valley, expanding services and membership opportunities to all of San Bernardino County.
In 2010, with the acquisition of two Washington-based credit unions, Alaska USA's field of membership was expanded to include anyone who lives, works, worships, or attends school in the state of Washington.
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