The world celebrates International Credit Union Day on October 17.
Why does it matter?
There are 68 million adults in the U.S. who have limited or no relationship with traditional banks. No wonder, given the increasingly high costs and hidden traps that many people now associate with mainstream banking. Community Development Credit Unions, or CDCUs, are insured, community-based, and cooperatively-owned financial institutions that are leading the way in bringing safe, affordable financial services to low- and moderate-income people and communities.
Through credit building and small dollar loans, small business and mortgage loans, housing counseling and financial education programs, and transparent, affordable savings and checking accounts, CDCUs have become a force for change in low-income communities. CDCUs reinvest in and revitalize their communities and serve as an antidote to high-cost check cashers, usurious payday lenders, and pawnshops that generate more than $78 billion in fees and interest each year — money that is siphoned out of the pockets of lower income families that can least afford it.
Today, the National Federation of Community Development Credit Unions celebrates its member credit unions across the country and their commitment to expanding financial inclusion to low-income families, new immigrants, young people, and an ever-growing number of Americans seeking alternatives to mainstream banks. With their focus on local economic development, asset building and financial empowerment, CDCUs are part of the network of civic institutions that make communities, and the people who live in them, strong.
Deyanira Del Rio
Board Chair, National Federation of Community Development Credit Unions
President/CEO, National Federation of Community Development Credit Unions