By Jerika. L.H.
For the past two years, community members have been toiling away towards a goal they hope will enrich underserved populations- a minority owned Credit Union. This active group of businesses owners, community leaders, and involved citizens had initially pitched the idea for the Community Federal Credit Union at the African American Leadership Conference, which is put on by the California Black Chamber of Commerce Foundation. Their tireless efforts have made the dream of a local community credit union become a real possibility, as they have just finished the initial phase of the application process. A community based financial institution could be right around the corner for Sacramento locals.
As it currently stands, 1 in 13 households rely on expensive check cashing facilities as their primary means of banking. 21 million Americans are classified as “underbanked,” meaning they use alternative financial services in combination with traditional banking services. Statistically, those living below the poverty level are the most likely to use a check cashing place and be without a bank account. According to Strike Debt, “The unbanked includes the working poor, the unemployed, the homeless, the undocumented, those who do not speak English fluently, those who are or have been incarcerated, those with mental or physical health issues, and older people. Demographically speaking, the unbanked population is very broad and very diverse, but it is disproportionately comprised of low-income households (71% of unbanked households earn below $30,000 a year), households of color, and immigrant households.”
The proposed credit union will be headquartered in Oak Park, a neighborhood demarcated by particularly high rates of poverty, and seeks to ease the financial burden of local community members as well as strengthen the community through education and mutual aid. This planned family-friendly credit union would extend a range of services to members through locally based efforts, thus fostering a stronger relationship between neighbors and families. Steering committee member Dusharme Thomas notes, “We are really looking forward to the opportunity to present a resource to people- not just in helping people with banking but by connecting with them. Locals will be able to speak face to face with people who care about their needs and the needs of their community. We hope to help members grow their potential, as well as protect their assets. It will really beneficial for everyone.” Thus far, the group’s efforts have been met with overwhelming encouragement and public approval.
Yet, in order to make the credit union a possibility, organizers are enlisting the help of the community. As they move on to the next stage of their National Credit Union Administration application, they must demonstrate that there is sufficient resident backing to support the credit union’s development. This means compiling a survey of 600 potential users, or those who may be interested in utilizing the services of the credit union, to showcase public interest in the project. This will not only provide information on what the community wants from their proposed financial provider, but will help the steering committee show the NCUA that the Community Federal Credit Union is something Sacramento both wants and needs. The quick survey is confidential, takes only a few minutes to complete, and will bring the steering committee one step closer in making their goal a reality. To help support the local minority-owned Community Federal Credit Union in their efforts to extend financial services to underserved populations in Sacramento, please follow the survey link below. http://www.surveymonkey.com/r/ProposedCCCFCU
For more information, visit https://www.facebook.com/ProposedCUSacramento/