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Dupaco celebrates 75th anniversary

DUBUQUE, Iowa—Seventy-five years ago this week, 10 employees of the Dubuque Packing Company pooled $5 each to form their very own credit union. These 10 employees borrowed six letters from their employer’s name and called their credit union Dupaco.

Dupaco Credit Union was officially charted July 17, 1948, by its founding members Marie Houpert, Melvin Schumacher, Alfred Carroll, R.W Reavell, Larry Vize, William Moore, Ronald Nennig, Marjorie Alm, Nellie Tucker and Manley Alm. These 10 employees created Dupaco on the principles of thrift, access to affordable credit and the opportunity for its members to own and control their money on a democratic basis to improve their co-workers economic and social condition.

Like many credit unions at the time, Dupaco originally served its members out of a cigar box in the office of its employer group. This was until 1958, when the financial cooperative became the first Iowa credit union to construct its own office building, located at 1465 Sycamore St. in Dubuque. That branch remains today and is one of 22 in Dupaco’s network of branches.

During the 1980s, with the closure of the Dubuque Packing Company, the credit union expanded its field of membership to those residing or working in Dubuque, Jackson and Delaware counties in Iowa. Following those years, Dupaco’s membership continued to expand throughout Iowa, southwest Wisconsin and northwest Illinois.

Now, certified as a Community Development Financial Institution (CDFI), Dupaco and its nearly 700 employees are proud to serve more than 158,000 members throughout all 50 states, District of Columbia, U.S. Virgin Islands and 28 other countries, according to Dupaco President and CEO Joe Hearn.

“Dupaco is more than local, it’s a financial cooperative, owned by its community of members,” Hearn said. “As we celebrate this milestone, I’m proud of Dupaco’s legacy and the positive impact the credit union has had with our members and the communities we serve. Team Dupaco has never lost sight of how we’ve got here; we’ll continue to serve our members with heart and smart. I’m excited to see what the next 75 years, and beyond, brings!”

Each year, Dupaco members vote for their volunteer board of directors. After 75 years, the credit union remains a member-owned, democratically controlled cooperative. All Dupaco members have an equal say in their credit union, where each member has one vote for their volunteer board of directors, no matter how much money they have in deposits or loans at Dupaco.

Dupaco’s current volunteer board of directors are:

  • Ron Meyers, chair of board; retired, principal, Wahlert High School
  • Ellen Goodmann Miller, vice chair; resource development specialist, Gronen & Hawks Goodmann & Associates
  • Renee Poppe, secretary; senior vice president, Sales Service Center, Medline Industries
  • Andy Schroeder, treasurer; vice president, Prenger Solutions Group
  • Steve Chapman; retired, Auxiant
  • Denise Dolan; retired, auditor, Dubuque County
  • Jeff Gonner; chief of staff, Medical Associates
  • Randy Skemp; vice president of sales, Active Network, LLC
  • Bob Wethal; vice president of patient care services & chief nursing officer, Mercy Medical Center

As the elected voice of our membership, Dupaco’s directors thoughtfully weigh every decision and investment that’s made, Hearn said. “They provide a solid framework while helping set direction for our team and providing the resources needed to get the job done. After 75 years, they continue to move the credit union forward, just as the original volunteer directors did in 1948.”

Dupaco volunteer board chair, Ron Meyers, said, “It’s an honor to represent and be a part of Dupaco. It’s truly inspiring to see our entire team of member advocates passionately educating our members, no matter where they are in their financial journey. There’s no better place to feel more confident about your well-being than at Dupaco.”

Dupaco continues to receive BauerFinancial’s 5-Star Superior rating, acknowledging the credit union’s performance as one of the country’s strongest financial institutions. Dupaco has also been listed as a Forbes Best-in-State Credit Union, a S&P Global Market Intelligence Top 100 Credit Union, a Des Moines Register Top Workplace and Employ Humanity Top Workplace.

Dupaco Community Credit Union is a not-for-profit, member-owned financial cooperative headquartered in Dubuque, Iowa. It is dedicated to the financial well-being of its members, and specializes in personalized financial counseling, money advice and education. It offers savings, loans, investments, insurance and wealth management products for individuals and businesses. Dupaco serves residents in 118 counties throughout Iowa, northwest Illinois and southwest Wisconsin. Founded in 1948 by 10 Dubuque Packing Company employees, membership has grown to more than 158,000 with assets exceeding $3.1 billion. It has nearly 700 employees and 22 branch office locations. Dupaco is a Community Development Financial Institution (CDFI). It is a Forbes Best-in-State Credit Union and a Des Moines Register Top Workplace. Learn more at

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