About Us & Mission Statement | AltaOne Federal Credit Union (2024)

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From Humble Beginnings to One of Central California’s Leading Credit Unions

We’ve been around a long time—over 75 years, as a matter of fact!

About Us & Mission Statement | AltaOne Federal Credit Union (1)

Our journey began in 1947 when a group of dedicated naval and civilian employees came together at the Naval Ordinance Test Station, China Lake to create something truly special: the NOTS Employees Federal Credit Union. Their goal was simple yet powerful – to establish a financial institution that could offer affordable loans and essential services to military and civilian personnel, along with their families, in a secluded part of California.

As time has passed, we've grown by leaps and bounds, opening new branches, merging and acquiring other institutions, and introducing new products and services to cater to the needs of our members. And our family has grown too! Originally serving military and civilian employees, our membership criteria now extends to those living, working, worshipping, volunteering, or attending school in Kern, Inyo, Mono, and northern San Bernardino counties. Even businesses in these areas can now join.

The US Department of the Treasury has given us a special stamp of approval – we're a Certified Community Development Financial Institution—the first one headquartered in Kern County, California. This recognition celebrates our tireless efforts to enhance the lives of our members and enables us to receive grants from the CDFI Fund. These grants allow us to bring our much-needed financial services to communities and populations that might otherwise be underserved.

Our commitment runs deep. We're on a mission to improve the inequalities that exist in income, wealth, and access to financial solutions. Through competitive loan rates and invaluable financial education resources, we're dedicated to helping our members realize their financial dreams.

Today, we stand proud as one of Central California's largest credit unions. With 56,000+ members and assets exceeding $800 million, our family keeps growing, thriving, and making a positive impact.

So, that's us in a nutshell – a bunch of friendly folks dedicated to making finances friendlier.

Mission Statement

AltaOne’s mission is to improve the inequalities that exist in income, wealth, and access to financial solutions.

Vision Statement

AltaOne’s vision is to be a relationship-focused credit union that develops communities through education.

Our History

About Us & Mission Statement | AltaOne Federal Credit Union (2)

“They have a desk, a typewriter, and a wastebasket, and they call themselves a credit union.”

— Lorraine McClung, 1947

1940s — A Cash Drawer Credit Union


  • 9 members of the Naval Ordnance Test Station Employees Welfare Association organize NOTS Employees Federal Credit Union in China Lake, California, with less than $300 in deposits in one cash drawer.

  • The credit union is housed in the Old Training Building on base at China Lake.

  • The original field of membership is limited to naval and government personnel of China Lake and their family members.

  • Savings account limits were $100 a month, the maximum unsecured loan amount was $50, and the maximum secured loan amount was $2,000.


  • NOTS Employees Federal Credit Union grows to 616 members with total assets of $37,160.

1950s — Becoming a True Resource


  • Credit union moves to the Old Byrnes Street School on base.


  • 3,269 members; assets approaching $1 million.

  • Membership broadens to include other federal employees and retirees living in the area, as well as the credit union’s own employees.

1960s — Gearing Up for Growth


  • Credit union moves to the Housing Building on base.


  • Employees of the City of Ridgecrest can join the credit union.


  • Credit union moves to Old Dorm 1 on base.


  • Name changes to Naval Weapons Center Federal Credit Union.

1970s — A Permanent Foundation


  • Federal Insurance on Share Deposits.


  • The credit union builds its own permanent office at Richmond Road and King Street on base, no longer ‘borrowing’ space from the base.


  • A mobile branch is introduced.

  • A more accessible office is constructed in Ridgecrest at the Sierra Vista Shopping Center on North Norma Street and becomes known as the ‘City Office.’


  • Credit union adopts an expanded common bond definition to include all residents of Ridgecrest and surrounding areas—becoming a community-based credit union.


  • Credit union expands outside of the Indian Wells Valley to Boron through a merger with the US Borax Boron Employees Federal Credit Union.

  • Checking (Share Draft) accounts are introduced to the product lineup.

1980s — Acquisition & Expansion


  • The deregulation of financial institutions opens more avenues for the credit union to serve its members. Product offerings expand to include IRA and Share Certificates, money market accounts, credit cards, and 30-year mortgages.


  • Assets grow to $137 million with the help of a merger with the Kern Valley Community Federal Credit Union in Kernville.


  • The first ATMs are installed at Base and City branches.


  • Lake Isabella Branch opens.


  • Name changed to NWC Community Federal Credit Union to reflect the transition from an employee-based credit union to a community-chartered organization.

  • A new corporate office is built on the corner of Rader Street and South China Lake Boulevard in Ridgecrest.

1990s — Milestones & Technology


  • ATMs are available at all branches.


  • California City Branch opens.

  • 100,000ᵗʰ account is opened.


  • New computer systems are installed, which led to the introduction of Online Banking.


  • NWC Community Federal Credit Union celebrates the organization’s 50ᵗʰ anniversary.

  • Grocery store banking is introduced with the opening of a branch inside Stater Bros. in Ridgecrest.


  • Online loan applications are accepted for the first time.


  • ‘We are Y2Kapable’ campaign is rolled out for the Year 2000 change.

2000s — New Millenium Brings New Opportunities


  • The name AltaOne Federal Credit Union is formally adopted.

  • NCUA grants field of membership expansion, allowing the addition of Inyo County and northern San Bernardino County.


  • Bishop Branch opens.

  • Ridgecrest Corporate Office and Branch are remodeled and expanded.


  • AltaOne begins offering financial planning and investment services to members through LPL Financial.


  • Business lending is introduced.


  • Small Business Administration (SBA) loans are offered for the first time.


  • Credit union’s field of membership is expanded to include Mono County and western Kern County.


  • Lone Pine Branch opens.


  • Bakersfield Ming, Bakersfield Riverwalk, and Tehachapi Albertsons branches open.

2010s — Shaken, not Stirred


  • Credit union installs a new online and mobile banking platform.


  • Credit union converts and upgrades its core operating systems to be better positioned for new technologies.

  • Bob Boland, President & CEO of the credit union since 1991, retires, leaving a legacy of unparalleled growth and expansion.


  • On July 4th and 5th, two earthquakes (M6.4 and M7.1) rock the Ridgecrest area, felt as far away as northern California and Phoenix, Arizona. In the aftermath, the credit union adopts the ‘Shaken, not Stirred’ motto and implements the AltaCares project, providing food, resources, and economic help to members and the community at large.

About Us & Mission Statement | AltaOne Federal Credit Union (3)

2020s — Refocusing in the Roaring 20s


  • The COVID-19 Pandemic hits the nation, and AltaOne provides relief to members and the business community by processing over $4.1 million in PPP loans and Kern County Small Business Recovery Grants.

  • AltaOne is voted a “Favorite Financial Institution” in The Bakersfield Californian 2020 Readers’ Choice Poll.


  • A comprehensive strategic plan for the credit union is developed and implemented by Board of Directors, executive leadership, and employees.

  • The 1ˢᵗ annual AltaOne Halloween Fall Festival is held at the corporate office. Games, candy, and a haunted house are provided free of charge to the community.

  • AltaOne is voted the “Best Financial Institution” in the Tehachapi News 2021 Readers’ Choice Poll.


  • AltaOne is certified as a Community Development Financial Institution by the US Department of the Treasury. It is assigned a target investment area that includes Inyo, Kern, Los Angeles, Mono, Orange, San Bernardino, and Tulare counties in California; Clark County, Nevada; and Mohave County, Arizona.

  • The Ridgecrest branch of Mission Bank is acquired. The new location is christened the Ridgecrest North Branch.

  • Tehachapi Albertsons Branch is relocated to a stand-alone building that was vacated by a large regional bank.

  • Business banking and lending offerings are expanded to include a full line of products, services, and loans.

  • The credit union joins the Co-Op ATM and Shared Branch network providing over 30,000 ATMs and over 5,400 physical locations that members can use, coast to coast and in 10 foreign countries.

  • A new mission statement is created to better communicate what we strive to do each and every day: AltaOne’s mission is to improve the inequalities that exist in income, wealth, and access to financial solutions.

  • AltaOne is voted the “Best Financial Institution”, “Best Employer”, and “Best Mortgage Professional” in the Tehachapi News 2022 Readers’ Choice Poll.

  • AltaOne is voted a “Favorite Financial Institution” in The Bakersfield Californian 2022 Readers’ Choice Poll.

  • The Kernville and Lake Isabella branches receive the 2022 Business of the Year award from the Kern River Valley Chamber of Commerce.

  • Awarded Affiliate of the Year by the Ridgecrest Area Association of Realtors.


  • The credit union receives a $2.4 million grant from the CDFI Fund—it’s first since becoming a certified CDFI in 2022.

  • The AltaOne Foundation is incorporated and launched as the charitable arm of the credit union.

  • AltaOne is voted a “Favorite Financial Institution”, “Favorite Mortgage Company”, and a “Favorite Locally Owned Place to Work” in The Bakersfield Californian 2023 Readers’ Choice Poll.

  • AltaOne is voted a “Favorite Financial Institution”, “Favorite Employer”, and the “Best Mortgage Professional” in the Tehachapi News 2023 Readers’ Choice Poll.

  • The credit union receives a Certificate of Excellence from America’s Credit Unions.

  • AltaOne and the Armed Forces Financial Network celebrate their 25 year partnership serving the military community.


  • The credit union is awarded a $200,000 California Investment & Innovation Program grant.

  • AltaOne receives the Large Business of the Year Award from the Kern County Hispanic Chamber of Commerce.

About Us & Mission Statement | AltaOne Federal Credit Union (4)

Historical Timeline of the Name of the Credit Union

  • 1947-1968 NOTS Employees Federal Credit Union

  • 1968-1989 Naval Weapons Center Federal Credit Union

  • 1989-2000 NWC Community Federal Credit Union

  • 2000-Present AltaOne Federal Credit Union

Mergers & Acquisitions

  • 1978 - Merged with US Borax Boron Employees Federal Credit Union, Boron California.

  • 1983 - Merged with Kern Valley Community Federal Credit Union, Kernville California.

  • 2022 - Acquired Mission Bank Ridgecrest Branch, Ridgecrest California.

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About Us & Mission Statement | AltaOne Federal Credit Union (2024)
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