Illinois Credit Union Hall of Fame
Willard L. King
As a young Chicago attorney graduating from the University of Chicago Law School, Willard King had a unique role in the credit union movement in Illinois. He was "drafted" into the movement in 1924 when he was asked to draft the original Credit Union Act of Illinois.
King accomplished this objective the following year and spent less than $1,000. He had solicited the support of the Illinois Federation of Laborers, the Illinois Manufacturers Association, the Illinois Bankers Association and ultimately even won over the Cook County Bankers Association. The bill he drafted provided for the organization of state-chartered credit unions in Illinois. It was the 23rd such law in the United States, effective July 1, 1925. Today we have over 500 state-chartered credit unions.
About five years later, King guided the formulation of the Illinois Credit Union League. Later he was named its first honorary member.
In 1960 King became a member of the planning committee that selected the site at York and Belmont in Bensenville for the league headquarters.
Willard King served as outside legal counsel for the league for approximately 45 years. He was a frequent speaker at many of the annual meetings in Chicago.
While vacationing in Barbados, King died on March 5, 1981 at the age of 87. He was honored by the Northwest Chicago Chapter. In May of that year, the chapter name was changed to the Willard L. King Chapter. Now we have the privilege of installing him in the Illinois Credit Union Hall of Fame as a true pioneer.