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CDCU opens branch in Brooklyn underserved area
BROOKLYN, N.Y. (5/23/08)--Brooklyn Cooperative FCU--the youngest community development credit union (CDCU) in New York City--celebrated the opening of a new branch in the underserved Bedford-Stuyvesant neighborhood last weekend.
From left: CDIF Fund Director Donna Gambrell; U.S. Rep. Nydia Velazquez; and Brooklyn Cooperative FCU CEO Jack Lawson, in front of the credit union's new branch. (Photo provided by the National Federation of Community Development Credit Unions)
Donna Gambrell, director of the federal Community Development Financial Institutions (CDFI) Fund, presented an award check of $393,998 to the credit union’s leadership. Also on hand were U.S. Rep. Nydia M. Velázquez, chairperson of the House Small Business Committee; U.S. Rep. Edolphus Towns, a member of the Energy and Commerce Committee; and State Assemblyman Darryl Towns, chairman of the New York State Assembly Banks Committee. They expressed their support for the federal CDFI Fund and the New York State CDFI Fund. The state fund was created last year to help CDFIs leverage increased federal and private sector support. New York City Council Member Letitia James has also been a strong supporter of the credit union. “Now more than ever, during these tough economic times, it is important for all New Yorkers to have the opportunity to chart their own course to financial freedom," said Velazquez. Since its founding in 2000, Brooklyn Cooperative FCU has grown to $7.3 million in assets and serving 4,765 members. It has received six financial assistance and technical assistance awards totaling more than $1.1 million from the CDFI Fund since 2001. The grants enabled the credit union to establish a firm financial base, and with the most recent award, to branch out from its headquarters in the Bushwick neighborhood of Brooklyn. The National Credit Union Foundation awarded the credit union a $50,000 Innovation Grant earlier this year to support the underserved branch opening. “I’ve been working with credit unions and other CDFIs for a number of years as chairman of the Assembly Banks Committee," said Towns. "But throughout that time I’ve been dying to have a CDFI that I could call my own, one that is addressed right in my district, and I’m very happy to finally welcome the Brooklyn Cooperative FCU to this neighborhood." The new branch will be open five days a week and will offer the credit union's core financial services: low-fee loans, savings accounts, checking accounts and ATM card, tax preparation assistance, homeownership counseling, housing loans, and small-business technical assistance and loans. Cliff Rosenthal, president/CEO of the National Federation of Community Development Credit Unions, described Brooklyn Cooperative FCU as “one of the most successful start-up credit unions of the last decade anywhere in the country."


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