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In 1992, after three years of research to determine the effectiveness of church-based credit unions as viable institutions in economic development, the Federation established the African-American Church Credit Union Program.
The Federation was the first to recognize the enormous potential of the African-American church-based credit unions as an untapped resource for Black economic power and as a model of self-help in African-American communities throughout the United States.
In 1997, the Federation’s Board of Directors voted to change the name from the Church Credit Union Program to its current name, The Faith-based Credit Union Program (FBCUP). Open to faith-based credit unions of all religions, the Federation continues to receive funding from numerous foundations in support of our religious affiliated credit unions.
The Faith-based Credit Union Program coordinates our training, technical assistance, and capital services to faith-based credit unions and organizing groups. It continues to be one of the few programs in the credit union movement that provides services that address the specific needs of small, religious-affiliated institutions. Currently, our faith-based credit unions comprise close to half of the Federation's national membership, serves tens of thousands of residents nationally and controls millions of dollars in aggregate assets from urban and rural low-income communities throughout the United States.
Faith-based credit unions provide low-income communities with access to a range of financial products and services including:
Loans for a first-time home buyers
Small business development loans
Financing for college education or other job trainings
Faith-based credit unions also help rebuild communities one loan at a time and give people back their dignity and control of their lives. As a consequence, many are beginning to be recognized by their peers and others in the industry as vital institutions in the community development movement as they have accomplished much for credit union members and their families around the country from educating members on the financial system, to increasing net worth and building wealth-generating opportunities, to rotating and controlling dollars that flow throughout the church and broader community to improve the quality of life.
Just as churches played a central role in the Civil Rights movement of the 60’s, church congregations have united around the idea that neighborhoods deserve financial institutions that meet the needs of low-income residents. Therefore, most faith-based credit unions have had the historical role of being the first credit unions established in their varied communities in the United States. It is fitting that they continue to be at the forefront of efforts to minister in holistic ways to the community. In all, faith-based credit unions make up about one-third of the total credit union population nationwide. Faith-based credit unions represent the best traditions of people helping others in low-income communities as they return the church to the real meaning of community.
The Faith-based Credit Union Program’s mission is to coordinate the Federation’s training, technical assistance and capital to our faith-based credit unions and organizing groups. It is designed to build cooperative relationships with national religious denominations and ecumenical groups, develop networks of faith-based credit unions in cities throughout the country and create and nurture other community development cooperatives.
What is a Faith-based Credit Union?
A faith-based credit union is one whose founding, governance, or membership is derived from a religious institution(s). Generally, religious institutions or religious organizations sponsor these credit unions to bring responsible and affirdable financial services to their congregations and communities.
Typically, these credit unions:
Have smaller memberships and assets than other credit unions of CDCUs;
Offer a limited number services, mainly savings and loan products;
Are open for business only a few hours a week, usually one or two weekday nights and after church services on Sundays;
Operate with all-volunteer leadership and staff, in some cases for decades
There are, however, several dozen faith-based CDCUs with collective assets of more than $50 million. Some of the larger faith-based credit unions serve scores of local churches, far-flung dioceses, multiple parishes or even churches spread over entire regions of the country.
Faith-based Credit Union Program Services
The Federation's Faith-based Credit Union Program, along with our highly experienced Technical Assistance Department, provide our members with a variety of services, technical assistance and training opportunities in the following areas:
Basic operational procedures
Credit union accounting and bookkeeping
Development of Marketing Materials
Membership growth and Field of Membership expansion
NCUA Low-income Designation
Community Development Financial Institutions Fund (CDFI) certification
Sharon Saulters, CEO, The Triumph Baptist FCU (Philadelphia, PA)
Gregg Brown, CEO, South Side Community FCU (Chicago, IL)
Willie Carpenter, CEO, FOGCE FCU, (Eutaw, AL)
Robert Coleman, CEO, Northwest Baptist FCU (Seattle, WA)
Mulu Gebreyesus, CEO, New Community FCU (Newark, NJ)
Rita L. Haynes, President Emeritus, Faith Community United CU (Cleveland, OH)
Lucia Moreno, CEO, Family FCU (Willington, CA)
Dan Morrisey, CEO, Queen of Peace FCU (Arlington, VA)
Daniel Scott, CEO, Faith Based FCU (Ocean Side, CA)
Shirley Spruill, CEO, Renaissance Community Development CU (Somerset, NJ)
Valerie Harrison, Federation Program Officer
Contact and Additional Information
The Faith-based Credit Union Program is coordinated by Federation Program Officer Valerie Harrison, who can be reached at: firstname.lastname@example.org or (800) 437-8711 x218.