(June 24, 2007 – New York, NY) In a letter to the editor of the New York Times published in the June 24 Sunday edition, Federation Executive Director Clifford N. Rosenthal urged that credit unions should be an integral part of New York City’s expanding anti-poverty campaign.
An Op-Ed piece published a week earlier by Rourke O’Brien, Policy Analyst with the Asset Building Program at the New America Foundation, entitled “Investing Your Way Out of Poverty,” asserted that all low-income New Yorkers receiving conditional cash transfers in a new pilot project “should be required to have a checking account at a federally insured bank.”
In his letter to the editor, Rosenthal recommended that O’Brien’s assertion should be expanded to include credit unions, many of which already play a major role of in filling banking gaps in New York City’s underserved neighborhoods.
“The idea that low-income consumers should be banked is absolutely correct,” said Rosenthal. “I commend Rourke and others in the asset-building field for promoting this idea, but what is most important to me is that credit unions, and particularly community development credit unions, who have been providing life-line financial services to communities red-lined by banks, be made an integral part of the solution.”
“As community-controlled, not-for-profit financial institutions, credit unions have less market pressures than banks when it comes to serving low- and moderate-income individuals,” explained Rosenthal. “What that translates into is more affordable products and services that build rather than strip wealth.”
The Federation’s New York Community Financial Network includes nearly 30 community development credit unions across the City, as well as larger Community Development Partners such as Municipal CU and United Nations FCU.
© 2007 National Federation of Community Development Credit Unions.