NEW YORK–Inclusiv, which was formerly known as the National Federation of Community Development Credit Unions, and the African-American Credit Union
Coalition (AACUC) have joined forces to celebrate African American credit unions in a social media campaign that illustrates the impact of credit unions on their members and communities. February is Black History month.
“Inclusiv and its network of community development credit unions believe that true financial inclusion and empowerment is a fundamental right,” the organization said. “Inclusiv is dedicated to closing the gaps and removing barriers in financial opportunities for distressed and underserved communities by providing capital, making connections and building capacity, developing innovative products and services for CDCUs and working to transform local progress into lasting change at the national level.
The AACUC, which is marking its 20th anniversary this year, continues to work to expand interest in and increase the number of minorities in the credit union movement and provides scholarship and internship programs to encourage African American students to seek employment in the credit union movement.
Income Continues to Lag
“Despite continuing growth in the U.S. economy, African-American households lag in income earned and wealth owned compared to White, Asian-American and Latino households,” Inclusiv said.
The organization pointed to research on the racial wealth divide by Prosperity Now that found a 75% decline in wealth between 1983 and 2013, while median White household wealth rose by 14%. The same research also found both White and Asian-American households earn more than twice as much, on average, than African -American households. Inclusiv noted African-American credit unions serve some of the most vulnerable communities in the U.S.
“Inclusiv was organized over 40 years ago by primarily minority credit unions, and these institutions continue to serve a critical function today, acting as a force for economic empowerment and inclusion within communities traditionally excluded from accessing safe and affordable financial services,” said Cathie Mahon, president and CEO of Inclusiv. “African-American credit unions are, and will continue to be, some of the best tools we have to strengthen our communities and fight back against the growing divide of income inequality and the racial wealth gap.”
‘No Better Way’
“There is no better way to encourage economic wealth and savings for the underserved than minority credit unions serving members and educating surrounding communities,” added Renee Sattiewhite, executive director of the AACUC. “It is imperative that African-American credit unions’ efforts are acknowledged, celebrated and replicated.”
According to Inclusiv, the impact stories that it and the AACUC will be sharing on Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter and Instagram are designed to increase the visibility of African-American credit unions within the credit union industry, communities of color, the community development finance sector and legislators. The first post has now appeared Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter and features members of the On the Rise Financial Center in a recent interview with the local NPR affiliate, 90.1 FM WABE. The Center is an Inclusiv initiative, which, in collaboration with credit union partners 1st Choice CU, BOND Community CU, Credit Union of Atlanta and Peach State FCU, promotes financial inclusion in Atlanta’s historic Westside.