(3/24/06 – New York, NY) Last week, National Credit Union Administration (NCUA) Board Chairman JoAnn Johnson and Board Member Gigi Hyland met with the National Federation of Community Development Credit Unions (the Federation) on separate visits to New York City.
Chairman Johnson, who was in town visiting several credit unions, met with the Federation’s Executive Director, Cliff Rosenthal, at a special dinner for supporters of the Colors Restaurant. Colors, which is Manhattan’s first cooperatively owned restaurant, was recently opened by the former employees of Windows on the World, a landmark restaurant that had been situated atop the World Trade Center.
The new restaurant is owned by many first-generation immigrants and offers a menu of “new American” cuisine representing dishes from the employees’ native countries, including Haiti, Jamaica, Italy, Mexico, Thailand, Guyana, Philippines, Colombia, Egypt, Bangladesh, China, and the U.S.
Unable to secure financing from banks, Colors organizers instead turned to a number of local and international non-profits for funding, including community development financial institutions (CDFIs); various foundations, and one credit union: the nearly $20 million community development credit union (CDCU), the Lower East Side People’s FCU.
Later in the week, new NCUA Board member Gigi Hyland was able to spend some time visiting the Federation’s offices in Manhattan’s Financial District. Board Member Hyland was in New York conducting site visits to Bethex FCU in the Bronx and the Lower East Side People’s FCU, as well as for a speaking engagement at a meeting of the New York State Credit Union League’s Metropolitan Chapter of Credit Unions. Taking advantage of her trip, Hyland also arranged to meet with Federation staff to learn more about the Federation’s programs and initiatives.
“The Federation is always pleased to see NCUA Board Members visiting our CDCUs,” explained Cliff Rosenthal, Executive Director of the Federation. “Visits like these show a continued commitment on the part of NCUA’s Board to work with CDCUs and to learn about the unique challenges these institutions face in serving low-income communities.”