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Community Promise FCU declares 1st year a success
KALAMAZOO, Mich. (3/14/14)--While 23 total loans over a 12-month stretch may not raise too many eyebrows, Community Promise FCU, Kalamazoo, Mich., still has labeled the past year a success.

Community Promise, a community development credit union striving to provide financial services to those typically not served by traditional financial institutions, celebrated its one-year anniversary last month.

The $520,000-asset organization will host its first annual meeting Saturday.

"I want the community to know we are here with a better financial alternative than people of low- and moderate-incomes have had," President/CEO Michael Ross told Second Wave (March 13).

The community-minded credit union was created to offer people in poor economic standing an alternative to check-cashing businesses, with a primary focus on promoting financial literacy.

Ross, who spends his evenings working at the credit union for $1 per year, will sit for hours with each loan applicant to assess his or her ability to repay a loan, work on developing a budget, and offer guidance to those who the credit union must turn down.

"If I can help one person improve her situation, I feel I have done something. And if that person pays off the loan from us, we have been successful," Ross told Second Wave.

For 23 people, so far, that success has been achieved.

Dr. James Houston, the first chair of the credit union's board, values adherence to the organization's mission and principles, and sees potential for growth as the organization rolls on. 

"I believe that Community Promise will be considered as a community treasure, as people in Kalamazoo realize the long term effect it is having, and will have, on the low-income citizens of our city," Houston told Second Wave.

Credit union organizations supporting Community Promise include: the National Federation of Community Development Credit Unions; Educational Community CU, Kalamazoo; and First Community FCU, Parchment, Mich.

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