Dora Maxwell: Credit Union Pioneer

March 8, 2023 is Internation Women’s Day.  Today, we’re honoring Dora Maxwell, an early pioneer in the credit union movement. She secured charters for hundreds of credit unions throughout the United States, including, Standard Oil Company of NJ, People’s Natural Gas Company, The Hope Natural Gas Co., and the Sanders Markets.

Here is a list of her accomplishments:

  • In 1932, Maxwell became the head of the CUNEB branch and new headquarters called “Eastern State Offices” located on 42nd St. in New York, New York.

  • She was a delegate to the 1934 Estes Park conference which established the Credit Union National Association (CUNA) and worked as an organizer for the Credit Union National Extension Bureau, the movement’s trade organization.

  • In 1937, she represented and promoted CUNA Mutual Insurance, and represented CUNA in the field.

  • After CUNA’s national headquarters moved to Madison, WI in 1939, Maxwell was placed in charge of the Boston office, where she built up the CUNA-affiliated Massachusetts League and expanded the leagues in New York and New Jersey.

  • In 1940, she headed the CUNA Organization Service which looked for groups who might be interested in becoming credit unions and connected these groups with their state’s credit union leagues.

  • In 1946, she joined the Madison, WI office as director of the Organization & Education Department.

  • In 1987, the credit union industry immortalized her as she is the namesake of the Dora Maxwell Social Responsibility Award of CUNA. This award honors credit unions for their charitable works and social responsibility projects in their communities.