NEW YORK (5/5/09)--Jim Lehrer’s “NewsHour” on PBS recently focused on helping low-income residents in New York’s Washington Heights, noting the work of Neighborhood Trust FCU. The NewsHour piece opened with a story about a hairdresser from the Dominican Republic who wanted to open her own salon but didn’t have the means to do so. Neighborhood FCU helped her come up with a budget, avoid bouncing checks, pay her bills on time and save the money she needed to eventually open the salon. Neighborhood Trust FCU is operated by Credit Where Credit is Due and was established by Mark Lavine, a Washington Heights schoolteacher. Lavine got to know the families of his students and was shocked by how few had bank accounts and how many used loan sharks and pawn shops to receive credit. Lavine raised money to open Neighborhood Trust, which has a bilingual staff and offers small loans to those with no credit. The credit union has 4,000 members and is located in a bus terminal under the Washington Bridge. Neighborhood Trust offers free financial counseling and has expanded to other parts of New York City. The credit union’s financial education classes have been more in demand with the down economy, according to NewsHour. Neighborhood Trust has $6.6 million in assets. To hear the newscast, use the link.