The concept of the original credit union is a simple one: A community pooling their funds and savings together under a group of elected individuals who make loans to their neighbors. But have you ever asked yourself why that was necessary?
History has taught us that credit unions have based their philosophy on the concept of People Helping People. We’ve undertaken no greater mission than being a financial safe space for historically disenfranchised groups, such as the African American community in the 1920s and 30s. When large, traditional financial institutions turned their backs on Black Americans, they formed Black credit unions to support farmers and urban groups to move toward financial self-sufficiency.
After serving their members for decades, Black credit unions have continued to grow and still exist to this day, having grown into large financial institutions that now serve cities in states as far as Georgia, Alabama, Washington, and Florida.
In 1999 the African American Credit Union Coalition formed in order to “to increase the strength of the global credit union community and promote diversity through advocacy and professional development,” according to Service Credit Union. They support this cause to this day and have continued to keep diversity and equity at the forefront of their mission.
To learn more, check out a compiled history of Black credit unions from our friends at Service Credit Union in New Hampshire! Click here to learn more.