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Service 1st Announces Criswell’s Retirement From Board of Directors


Photo: Barbara Criswell

(Danville, PA) –Barbara Criswell, founding member of Geisinger Employees Federal Credit Union, now better known as, Service 1st Federal Credit Union, is retiring from Service 1st’s Board of Directors after serving as a volunteer in numerous and impactful rolls for nearly 40 of the credit union’s 49 years in business.

“It was Barbara’s vision that initially sparked, what is now known as Service 1st Federal Credit Union,” said Mike Thomas, President/CEO, Service 1st. “She led a group of Geisinger employees who agreed that they needed a credit union and volunteered together to get it started.”

To best illustrate Criswell’s impact on the credit union and the local community, it’s also important to understand the timing of Service 1st’s Charter. It was amid the Women’s Movement which covered a span of nearly 20 years from the 1960s through the 1980s. In the 1960s, women had won the right to open a bank account on their own; however, most financial institutions didn’t honor that right until 1974 when the Equal Opportunity Act was passed. The following year, would become known as the International Women’s Year, declared by the United Nations and marked by the World Conference of Women held from June 19 through July 2 in 1975. 

“I was a member of a credit union at another employer prior to Geisinger so I was aware of the benefits,” shared Barbara Criswell. “The 70’s was a time when women were beginning to realize that they might need to provide for their own financial security. At that time, 70% of the Geisinger employees were women. The credit union seemed like a good option for all Geisinger employees. The auto-deduction for savings was a benefit not being offered by Geisinger.”

Service 1st was chartered on August 25, 1975, after Criswell led the group of Geisinger Medical Center employees who identified the need for credit union services and rallied support and involvement from their colleagues. In the beginning, the credit union was run by volunteers who opened accounts at a table in the hospital’s cafeteria and later from one of the on-campus cottages.

“She has had an incredible impact on our credit union, and most importantly our members,” said Tracy Shirk, Chairperson, Service 1st Board of Directors.  “She has helped guide us through a number of challenges over the past 49 years, always asking insightful questions, offering innovative solutions, ultimately resulting in the continued growth of Service 1st.” 

Barbara has served as a director, Board Treasurer and Vice Chairperson for 38 years. She is one of the original ten signers of the charter for Service 1st and was the first President, now known as Chairperson of the Board. She also served as a volunteer on Service 1st’s Asset/Liability Management Committee, Finance Committee, Governance Committee, Investment Committee, and Supervisory Committee. Additionally, she’s continued to stay current, completing over 40 modules and ten certifications through CUNA’s Professional Development Online (CPD Online) training program. 

In 2018, Barbara was honored with the Joseph A. Moore Volunteer of the Year Award by the Pennsylvania Credit Union Association, now CrossState Credit Union Association. 

“She not only exemplifies our core values,” said Linda Brown, Chief Administrative Officer, Service 1st, “she’s helped define them. Her support of community, commitment to service excellence and integrity and ethics are unwavering.” 

Her support of community extends beyond Service 1st. A lifelong resident of Danville, PA, Criswell has served as Trustee of the Bloomsburg Theatre Ensemble (BTE), Board Trustee of the Thomas Beaver Free Library, and as a member of the Trinity Lutheran Church Finance Committee. 

She retired from Geisinger in September 2006 as the Director of GMC Cost Reimbursement and GMC and GSS Financial Reporting. She attended Danville High School and Bloomsburg State College, earning a Bachelor’s Degree in Education with a Major in Spanish and Minor in English. She went on to also earn her Masters in Business Administration from Bloomsburg State College. 

When asked what she is most proud of, Criswell added, “I am most grateful to and proud of the multitude of volunteers and employees, for they are the ones responsible for the incredible success of Service 1st Federal Credit Union.”

“I think I speak for the entire Service 1st Credit Union family, when I say what a pleasure it has been to work with Barbara,” added Mike Thomas. “She is proof that one person can make a difference. Since 1975, her thoughtfulness has helped positively impact the lives of over 40,500 + members that we are proud to serve. We thank her for her contributions and wish her health and happiness as she retires from the Service 1st Board of Directors.” 

For more information, connect with Service 1st Federal Credit Union via the chat option available at or by calling the Contact Center at 800.562.6049.

Sidebar: Two facts about Barbara Criswell and Service 1st Federal Credit Union:
1.    Service 1st’s local number 570.271.6060 was the credit union’s very first phone number. It rang to a phone at Barbara’s desk at Geisinger, before the credit union had an official office or any paid staff to answer it. 
2.    Service 1st’s beloved Mascot Crissie was named in honor of Barbara. 

Photo (L-R): Service 1st’s Mascot, Crissie; and Barbara Criswell

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