The History of USAA

USAA, which stands for United Services Automobile Association, started almost 94 years on June 20, 1922. USAA now has 19 financial centers and was ranked No. 1 in MSN Money Customer Service Hall of Fame.

For such an impressive company, you might have never guessed that it was started out of 25 military members being turned down for insurance.

Early Beginnings

A group of 25 Army officers founded USAA because they were unable to secure auto insurance because they were considered high-risks due to their military service. The group intended to start USAA in San Antonio, Texas as a way to establish mutual self-insurance. They decided to offer other military members insurance as well, and their motto officially became “Service to the Services” in 1924.

Growing Through the Depression

By 1928, USAA had 8,000 active members. Even though the stock market crashed in 1929 and the economy was in the middle of the Great Depression, USAA ended the year with a net profit of $144,000 before dividends.

The Great Depression did not hold this company down. From 1931 to 1940, USAA doubled in size and grew to 99 employees and 30,000 members. In 1933, the company exceeded its minimum reserve holdings and was able to return $230,000 to its members. The company ended the decade on a high note with a net profit of $643,000 before dividends.

Growing Through World War II

USAA’s membership kept growing at a rapid rate, even though the war caused a cease in new automobiles and places restrictions on gasoline, spare parts, and tires. At the end of 1949, the company reported a huge profit – $3,225,000 before dividends.

Expanding to Europe

USAA began writing policies in Europe in 1952, which lead to their membership growing by 43 percent. USAA then opens up an office in Frankfurt, Germany, which becomes their second location. At the end of the 1950s, USAA jumps on the newest computer innovations and uses an IBM 650 computer to automate punch card processing.

Profits for the end of the 1950s nearly quadrupled what the company earned in 1949. USAA reported a net profit of $14,393,000 before dividends.

Stronger Commitments in the 1960s

In the 1960s, USAA showed that they were a company devoted to their community and their servicemen. In 1961, the company changed their bylaws to allow officers to stay a member with USAA, even if they resign or leave the service. USAA also starts to offer home insurance and life insurance.

In 1964, USAA establishes a school program in San Antonio to help high school girls in their education, who are then considered for employment at USAA. At the end of 1969, USAA has 700,727 and a net profit of $23,820,000 before dividends.

Expansion After 50 Years

As USAA celebrated their 50-year anniversary, they also opened up offices in Tampa, Fla., Colorado Springs, Colo., and San Diego, Calif. They also expanded their services to provide mutual funds services and forms

Investment Management Company.

New Savings Bank in the 80s

By the end of the 1980s, USAA assets owned and managed totaled $16.5 billion. They also opened a USAA Federal Savings Bank in 1983.

Two Millionth Member

The 1990s were celebrated with the bank getting their 2 millionth member. In the 90s, USAA wins multiple awards for being the best workplace for mothers as well as the best ethical company. At the end of the 90s, USAA launches their website to allow members to do secure banking online.

USAA in the New Millennium

USAA continues to make the news for being one of the best companies for insurance and online banking (customers can activate a USAA account online in less than 1 minute). They continue to stay up to date on the newest banking technology. They were the first bank to allow deposit capability with an iPhone in 2009 with their USAA Deposit@Mobile.

USAA was started out of necessity by a group of military officers and has grown rapidly through the decades. They are the best company for military members and their families, which can be seen through the numerous awards they win each year.

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