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History of Democracy FCU

Democracy Federal Credit Union received its charter on May 26, 1936, just two years after the passage of the Federal Credit Union Act. The charter was issued in the name of Social Security Employees Federal Credit Union and changed in 1946 to Federal Security Agency Employees Federal Credit Union. By the mid 1950’s the Department of Health, Education, and Welfare (HEW) was created precipitating a name change in 1955 to the HEW Employees Federal Credit Union. As the credit union continued to grow by expanded fields of membership, in 1984 the ‘Employees’ was dropped from the name changing it to HEW Federal Credit Union. Recognizing the democratic structure and growing family of members, Democracy Federal Credit Union changed their name to the current on January 1, 2015.

Membership eligibility was initially limited to employees of the Social Security Board in Washington, D.C. and their immediate families. Numerous government reorganizations and subsequent amendments to the charter over the years have brought the credit union to its current position serving the employees of the Departments of Health and Human Services (formerly Health, Education, and Welfare), Department of Education, and employees of other agencies and their families. Democracy FCU also serves people who live, work, worship, attend school or conduct business in Washington, D.C. and most areas in Maryland and Virginia within the beltway.

The growth of Democracy FCU has been notable. It's interesting to note that it took 36 years for the Credit Union to reach its first $10 million in assets and a membership of 12,000. Yet just 14 years later, when the Credit Union celebrated its 50th birthday, assets jumped to $39 million reflecting an increase of nearly 300%. In 2001, Democracy FCU surpassed the $100 million mark in assets. 

 The Credit Union presently operates out of 5 offices:

  • Humphrey Branch - Hubert H. Humphrey Building (HHS) - Washington, D.C.
  • C Street Branch - Washington, D.C.
  • Philadelphia Public Ledger Branch
  • Silver Hill Branch - District Heights, MD
  • Alexandria Branch - Alexandria, VA
  • Executive Offices, also located in Alexandria, VA, house our member services, credit card, lending, accounting, and marketing departments.

The Value of Credit Union Membership

Credit Unions offer consumers an alternative to stockholder-owned banks and other for profit financial services institutions. Democracy FCU is owned by the members who have deposited funds into the credit union. As a not-for-profit financial services cooperative we exist to help our members succeed financially. Our earnings are used to offer members lower loan rates, competitive investment rates, financial education and a staff committed to service.

Democracy FCU Leadership

Board of Directors

  • Patricia Ellis, Chairman
  • Lolita Priestly McLean, Vice Chairman
  • Samantha Ferbish, Secretary and Treasurer
  • Lester Austin, Member
  • Barbara Hunt, Member
  • Lynda Perez, Member
  • Stephanie Arrington, Member
  • Donna Scott, Member
  • Edward Stoffle, Member

The Executive Team

  • Ken Cahoon, President/CEO
  • Jennifer Womack, Vice President - Finance
  • Andrena Smith, Vice President - Operations 
  • Mario Mejia, Vice President - Delivery Channels

Supervisory Committee

  • Barbara Hunt, Chairman 
  • Beatrix Fields, Member
  • Batina Wills-Washington, Member

The Democracy FCU Mission

Mission Statement

Democracy Federal Credit Union is committed to building lasting relationships by exceeding our member's expectations with every interaction, every time, by delivering passionate service with a smile.

Member Education

Democracy Federal Credit Union is committed to helping you succeed financially by offering financial education to our members through one-on-one counseling efforts, seminars and financial education programs geared to youth and adults. 


Democracy Federal Credit Union will preserve credit union democratic principles, including demographic representation and volunteer participation in credit union activities.


Democracy Federal Credit Union recognizes the value of demographic diversity in staff as well as in volunteers, and will strive to bring people of diverse backgrounds and experiences into leadership and other roles at the credit union.

Commitment to the Credit Union Movement and other Cooperative Activities

Democracy Federal Credit Union works to build and strengthen our unique credit union movement by providing financial and in-kind resources to others within the credit union community, and by actively advocating the credit union difference at all levels of the government and in other appropriate public forums.