'Reputational' Loans Reach The Horn OfAfrica

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ROCHESTER, N.Y. - (10/13/04) -- Genesee Co-op FCU is helping EastAfricans realize their dreams, through its local membership. The $6million community development has been assisting immigrant membersfrom Somalia, Sudan and other countries in the Horn of Africa bringfamily members over the United States. To do this, they have hireda Somali immigrant who speaks five African languages, tocommunicate with this member base, Melissa Marquez, loan officerfor the credit union, told attendees to Monday's PALS workshoporganized by NCUA Board member Deborah Matz. In one instance, thecredit union lent a Kenyan immigrant with no credit history $3,000to help her bring five of her eight children to the U.S. "She hadno credit score," said Marquez, who was speaking on alternativecredit histories. "But we know her well and she's well known in thecommunity."

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