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The 1980s brought credit union changes across America as the NCUA established a policy authorizing credit unions to serve occupational and associational groups that were without credit union service. As a result of this policy, more than 5,000 employer and association groups have requested and received NCUA approval to be included in Alaska USA's field of membership.
This NCUA policy was challenged in a lawsuit brought by the banking industry in 1990. After seven years of litigation, the lawsuit ended in a U. S. Supreme Court ruling that overturned NCUA's regulation permitting service to more than a single organization. In response to this decision, credit unions mobilized an overwhelming grassroots effort and petitioned Congress to ensure consumers had access to credit union services.
In 1998, Congress passed the Credit Union Membership Access Act. This legislation enhanced access to credit union membership and modernized the Federal Credit Union Act. It also reaffirmed Congress' commitment to a federal income tax exemption for credit unions based on their purpose of providing financial services to people through a cooperative, democratic, not-for-profit structure.
Alaska USA was the first financial institution in Alaska to offer account access via personal computer, affording members the convenience of managing accounts from their home or office. During the Internet revolution of the 1990s, Alaska USA launched UltraBranch, continuously evolving online account management tools and member services. Alaska USA continued to broaden accessibility to members with the release of UltraBranch Mobile in 2005 and the Alaska USA app in 2011.
In addition to personal computer and mobile access, members can also manage their accounts through a growing network of surcharge-free ATMs and self-service terminals.
While Alaska USA was going global with the Internet, it was also enhancing its in-person branch service with a retail expansion strategy. Through partnerships with leading retail chains such as Safeway, Fred Meyer, Albertsons, QFC, Vons, and Top Food and Drug, Alaska USA established convenient in-store branches that offer expanded hours and seven-day service to complement members' busy schedules. Now, more that 50% of Alaska USA branches operate seven days a week in retail locations.
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