(January 20, 2010. New York City) New York City Community Development Credit Unions (CDCUs) were highlighted in the State of New York City speech delivered today by Mayor Michael Bloomberg.
In his speech, Bloomberg referred to five credit unions that will be offering “NYC Safe Start” accounts, which will prevent costly overdraws. “We’re calling them ‘NYC Safe Start’ because they won’t require minimum balances, and they won’t charge hidden fees. If you want overdraft protection or other services, you can opt for a traditional account, but with NYC Safe Start, you can’t withdraw more than you’ve got so you can’t be penalized for forgetting your balance,” the Mayor said.
While the credit unions were not specified, five CDCUs have been longstanding partners in the innovative programs developed by the Office of Financial Empowerment of New York City’s Department of Consumer Affairs. Those are Bethex FCU (Bronx, NY); Lower East Side People’s FCU (Manhattan); Brooklyn Cooperative FCU; Neighborhood Trust FCU (Manhattan); and Union Settlement FCU (Manhattan).
In addition, Mayor Bloomberg cited a recently chartered credit union in Queens, New York, sponsored by the East River Development Alliance, one of only two new federal charters issued in 2009, which will serve thousands of public-housing residents: ” We’ll also help open credit unions serving public housing residents, like the one Bishop Taylor is opening in Long Island City this spring. Bishop: You are one banker who truly is doing God’s work.”
The Mayor also supported a long-held position of New York credit unions calling for the deposit of public funds. “With [the legislature in] Albany’s approval, we’ll also strengthen neighborhood-friendly credit unions, which reach out to customers who may have never had a bank account. We’ll seek to deposit $25 million in City tax dollars in federally insured and regulated credit unions that pay the same interest rate as commercial banks. “It’s a relatively small amount of City resources, but it will have a big impact by allowing credit unions to make more loans to more low-income families.”
Mayor Bloomberg also mentioned a future program addressing the crisis of personal debt that many people face. “The City can’t manage anyone’s personal finances, but we can make it easier for New Yorkers to manage their own –and we will. We’ll start by helping more New Yorkers get out of debt with a new public-private loan pool that will offer them a fresh start if they commit to sound financial practices.”
Cliff Rosenthal, president of the National Federation of CDCUs and a member of the Advisory Board of the city’s Office of Financial Empowerment, praised the initiatives. “No city in the country has done more to recognize the work of community development credit unions than New York. We’re proud and excited about the city administration’s expanding initiatives."
© 2010 National Federation of Community Development Credit Unions