A recent article dated July 19 addressing the racial gaps in mortgage lending in the St. Louis region noted: “Isolation from financial services impacts the ability of majority African-American neighborhoods to build wealth, concentrating poverty. This perpetuates a cycle of disinvestment, reinforcing the likelihood that lenders will not invest there.” It doesn’t have to be this way.
St. Louis Community Credit Union (SLCCU) and Carrollton Bank work together to find solutions to owning a home for those who find themselves stuck in the upward spiraling cost of renting. Ours is a collaboration formed to provide hope throughout our great city. Simply put, our joint philosophy is to use our combined resources to increase people’s standard of living and better their lifestyle. We know that homeownership does just that!
As a Community Development Financial Institution (CDFI), St. Louis Community Credit Union surveyed the St. Louis landscape almost a decade ago and saw financial services deserts. We proceeded to where we are now — soon to be 15 offices within two miles of approximately 95% of the city’s population. Our services extend from the Water Tower on the north side to Kingdom House on the south side. Two branches in south St. Louis and Midtown provide for thousands of consumers. In addition, our service area includes St. Louis county municipalities like Ferguson, Pagedale, University City, St. John, Wellston, Jennings and many other areas where families are looking for solutions to increase wealth. Isolation has been substantially reduced.
St. Louis Community Credit Union’s access and convenience has provided our 52,000-plus members with an array of products that meet people where they are. We focus on affordable price points, great service and a dedication to helping people, not judging them. Eighty percent of our members are considered to be low income, and we are pleased to provide them with enhanced opportunities to gain wealth which leads to a higher quality of life, thus resulting in a stronger and more prosperous metropolitan area.
Carrollton Bank, a community bank with branches in St. Louis city and county, shares in the credit union’s belief to help people. They provide the credit union with home loan expertise, great products, processing infrastructure and most importantly, a pathway to successful homeownership through classes and one-on-one coaching. Our respective teams combine to work tirelessly with those who are ready to borrow, those who are close to borrowing, and even those who are many steps away from securing the American dream. Ours is not an answer of “no”; ours is an answer of hope!
John Taylor, president of the National Community Reinvestment Coalition, which released the damning report, said: “There isn’t a pipeline for home ownership for African-Americans…that’s the number one ticket to getting a leg up to build wealth.” We agree. Our joint programs, products, education and services provide just that — a “pipeline.”
Credit unions and banks are generally more competitors than collaborators. But when the problem is too great and our entire community suffers, it takes innovative leaders with a shared heart for serving to come together.
St. Louis Community Credit Union and Carrollton Bank work hard to create homeownership. Nothing is more rewarding than to see the picture taken at the loan closing of a family holding the keys to their new home. It is our collaborative intent to ensure that many, many more such pictures are taken. And soon.
Patrick K. Adams, CEO
St. Louis Community Credit Union
Tom Hough, CEO