Credit unions expanded steadily after the New York law was passed: 11 credit unions received their charters in 1915 alone. To manage this growth, a central organization was formed in 1917: the New York State Association of Credit Unions (NYACU).

The Russell Sage Foundation's Division of Remedial Loans provided financial support, leadership, office space and secretarial services to the new association. Also assisting in NYACU's formation were the Credit Union National Extension Bureau (predecessor of the Credit Union National Association) and the National Committee on People's Banks, which included Desjardins and philanthropist-entrepreneur Edward Filene.

The New York State Association of Credit Unions was officially reorganized in 1921. In May of that year, 19 credit unions met to establish goals and a structure for the Association. Credit unions required stronger leadership and a more visible presence for two important reasons. Still a new concept in the U.S., credit unions wanted to build awareness among the public. In addition, credit unions seeking to organize were forced to request authorization from the Banking Department – a long, tedious process.

Led by Robert McIntyre, president of the Municipal Credit Union, the Association laid the groundwork for the future and assumed a wide scope of responsibilities. The Association established legislative, publicity and advisory committees, which worked to charter new credit unions, publicize the movement, study and prepare legislation, provide a communications network for credit unions, standardize procedures and work for the common benefit of all New York credit unions.

As obstacles were conquered, the growth of credit unions began to accelerate. Prospective borrowers who were often overlooked by banks and savings institutions began turning to credit unions. By 1922, 100 New York credit unions had assets totaling over $460,000.

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