Inclusiv, AACUC, Citi partner to help minority credit unions

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A new initiative aims to help boost membership African-American community development credit unions in New York.

Inclusiv Communities, launched Wednesday by Inclusiv (formerly known as the National Federation of Community Development CUs) follows on the heels of an extensive social media campaign tied to Black History Month. Content for the site was developed with help from the African-American Credit Union Coalition, and includes features on the leaders and members of these institutions. These posts have been saved to a 16-page book in PDF, called “African American Credit Unions Build Strong Communities,” that can be found on Inclusiv’s website here.

Inclusiv said it and the AACUC will use this collection of posts to advocate on behalf of minority credit unions and the communities they serve.

The target area for this outreach effort is northern Manhattan, the Bronx, Brooklyn, Queens, the Lower East Side of Manhattan and northern New Jersey. The plan is to connect consumers in the area to CDCUs, which often are faith-based. Inclusiv noted many of these credit unions serve pockets inside gentrifying communities, adding some have been involved an initiative the trade group has undertaken to address facing such small, minority-owned institutions.

Nine credit unions are part of this new effort:

  • 1st Bergen FCU
  • Abyssinian Baptist Church FCU
  • Concord FCU
  • Empire Financial FCU
  • Fidelis FCU
  • Greater Centennial FCU
  • New Covenant Dominion FCU
  • St. Augustine Presbyterian FCU
  • University Settlement FCU.

Many of these CUs do not have websites, Inclusiv said, and the trade group’s site is the first time these institutions have had information about themselves online.

According to Inclusiv, an average of one minority-owned CU closes each week. Approximately half of all minority-owned credit unions are African-American institutions, and it said those are seeing the largest rates of closures. The agency said it was prompted to act after seeing FDIC research saying households that are predominantly Hispanic or African-American are five times more likely to lack access to traditional financial services than white households.

“Community development credit unions…have been at the forefront of our nation's most important social movements – from civil rights to the war on poverty, to anti-redlining, community reinvestment and asset building,” Cathie Mahon, CEO of Inclusiv, said in a statement. “The credit unions featured on inclusivcommunities.org strengthen our communities and provide practical solutions to fight growing income inequality in cities such as New York.”

Citi Community Development is also providing support for this initiative.

“By collaborating with Inclusiv on the African American Credit Union Initiative, Citi aims to help address the operating challenges of small minority-owned credit unions, which in turn help expand access for people in the communities we serve,” said Helen Steblecki, senior vice president for Citi Community Development.

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