In 1925 Pyramid began as a mutual investment group, when the post office was located in the old Ronstadt's Hardware building at the southwest corner of South Sixth and East Broadway. At the end of the first year the earned interest was split among the men, who bragged about the money they received. More joined up.
Soon, Pyramid became a leader of the credit union movement in the United States. Charter members helped start other credit unions in Tucson. Pyramid was in operation years before credit unions were officially recognized and regulated by the state. After many trips to Phoenix and months of work with the Arizona lawmakers, an Arizona Credit Union law was passed in 1929. Pyramid received one of the state's first charters to formally operate as a credit union. As word spread about the credit union, Pyramid's membership grew.
Business was conducted from the pockets of the treasurer, wherever he might be found - in the post office, his home, on the mail route or from the tailgate of a parcel post truck.
The first Pyramid annual meeting was held in the swing room of the Main Post Office, then in the Federal Building downtown. Two distribution clerks attended the meeting on their break in order to have a quorum. Six of the remaining members went across South Scott to a restaurant and all crowded in the same booth, which began the tradition of the annual dinner.
In the early 1940s, an adding machine was purchased for $75 and a rolltop desk and swivel chair were provided for Pyramid business which "officially" took place in the basement of Old Pueblo Station at Five Points.
When Old Pueblo Station was closed and the Annex opened at Helen Street and Ninth Ave, the desk was moved near the swing room within sight of the time clock. Many new post office employees, upon hitting the time clock for the first time, would stop at the credit union desk to ask, "How much money can I borrow?"
In the early years, when there were few expenses, a 10% dividend was paid each six months. A 7% dividend was paid annually for the next 10 years. During World War II, many members were in the armed services. Numerous credit union accounts were closed. Loans were limited by the federal regulations. Total shares were reduced to $2,500. Dividends dropped to 2%. Pyramid barely survived. But, by 1948 membership had grown to 98, with loans of $9,277, shares of $7,668 and deposits of $2,636.
Pyramid took on a new life in the late 1940s with a big push toward attracting postal employees' business. Bulletins were frequently mailed; posters were placed on all station bulletin boards each month. A credit union representative was appointed for all stations and paid five cents for each collection. Unsecured signature loans for well- established members were increased from $100 to $200. To prevent driving the annual dividend below 6%, a ceiling of $1,000 was placed on share accounts, with a maximum monthly deposit of $50. In 1950 assets reached $50,000. One director expressed his opinion that it was doubtful that we would grow much larger. In 1968, assets passed $1 million mark and continued to grow.
As times and regulations changed, Pyramid employed its first Manager, later titled President, separating the day-to-day duties of operating the credit union from the Board of Directors. Munday Curd became Pyramid's first Manager in 1948.
After 29 years of seeing Pyramid Federal Credit Union grow from $10,000 in assets to $3.8 million; from one employee in a back bedroom of his home for an office; drawing $150 a year salary; to 13 part-time employees in a four-room office, Manager Munday Curd, at age 65, felt it was time to retire in 1977.
Through the 80s and 90s, Pyramid continued to serve the needs of the postal "family" but business as usual meant moving away from station reps picking up passbooks to adding bricks-and-mortar branches and expanding products and services. As the new century approached and the Y2K non-event past, the credit union officers realized for Pyramid to continue to grow the credit union would need to change and move beyond its original charter: Their vision was to bring the benefits of credit union membership to more individuals and families throughout Tucson.
In late 2000, after much hiking around in the desert looking at many pieces of property, Pyramid decided on two locations, now our Speedway and Rita Ranch locations, which opened one month apart in 2002.
In early 2003, the Pyramid membership approved a change in the by-laws to expand and serve people living in areas near its branches. As we celebrated our 75th Anniversary in November of 2004, Pyramid's membership topped 7,200 and assets totaled more than $64 million.
From the days of manual accounting and dividends calculated on adding machines, Pyramid has invested significant resources in technology making it easier than ever to serve our members when and where they need it. Today, all Pyramid's branches are linked via a computer network. Members have 24/7 access over the phone, online through our e*Teller service and across the country at CO-OP ATMs. And our affiliation with the CU Service Centers shared branching network allows our members to walk into branches across the world and continue to do their banking with Pyramid.
As we look to what's in store for Pyramid over the next 75 years, we see a bright future.