The P.A.

A weekly address from Patrick Adams,
President of St. Louis Community Credit Union

Bank Funding Helps SLCCU Serve Community In Need

On June 25th, 2012, posted in: Uncategorized by

You may have read that St. Louis Community Credit Union recently collaborated with a community bank (Carrollton Bank).  You may have thought “these guys are sleeping with the enemy.”  Not really.  Some folks have asked outright… “What were you guys thinking?”  Well, here’s my answer(s).

Why work with a bank?

We’ll collaborate with anybody whose motivation is of a like mind to ours.  We have an obligation as a Community Development Financial Institution to serve designated, underserved markets.  We take that charge very seriously and appreciate resources from any reputable group that shares in our desire to make St. Louis a better place.

What do you say to people who criticize you for collaborating with a bank?

I once heard it said that “small-minded people are dangerous.”  I couldn’t agree more.  The unbanked/under banked problem in St. Louis is bigger than any one institution.  We are the single, largest unbanked African-American community in America.  St. Louis City is also considered to be a perennial “poverty center” – which means our percentage of families in poverty has grown in the past three census periods (that is 30 years).  We are woefully short of financial services in low/moderate income areas of our community that are most in need.  Funding from banks, businesses, foundations or the government that allows SLCCU to reach deeper and faster with financial services into a community in need is our goal.

Why not partner with credit unions?

We already do. St. Louis Community Credit Union has joined forces with Choices Credit Union in an effort to provide start-up capital for micro-business enterprises.  Again, our initiative is simple: collaboration allows us to reach more people with more products and services.  If other credit unions want to provide resources in order that we can serve St. Louis’ low/moderate income community to a greater degree, were all for it.

Isn’t aligning with a bank like “sleeping with the enemy?”

We think that’s a pretty narrow view.  Anybody can sit on the sidelines and cast stones, but it takes innovative, creative minds to work to find a solution to help our communities in need.  There are synergies between community banks and credit unions that when realized can lead to solving the bigger problems.  Congress could take a lesson.

Carrollton Bank is a great institution in our community that wants to do more.  If we can team our efforts and resources to make St. Louis a better place, who could possibly put forth a dissenting voice.  Some do.  Really?

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