The P.A.

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

What We Do Is Special

On November 3rd, 2014, posted in: Uncategorized by

empowering notesI love talking to people about what the Credit Union does. Especially to those who have never heard of us before. It is an eye-opening experience for those first-timers. What we do is special. I love the looks on their faces when they hear about the love and effort put forth for the good of mankind. They quickly come to realize that SLCCU is key to an individual’s socioeconomic progress in areas that are historically ignored when it comes to financial services. Strong people strengthen the neighborhoods.   

So many of our poorer neighborhoods are stricken by a lack of services, not the least of which is financial services, yet it seems to be the one least talked about. Sadly, in many regards, being void of financial services is the one thing that triggers so many other ills. Poverty affects education and health in a big way. Commerce exits a community really fast when “poor” creeps in as a label. As a result, poor areas of town do not gain business investment. That’s where we step in. As a community development financial institution, our charge is to enter in to the situation — not exit.

Picture a ladder. One’s socioeconomic stature on said ladder is key to their overall well-being. To offer a glaring comparison, those on the top rungs of the ladder complain about gas prices, but those on the bottom rungs have to adjust their lifestyle based on nickel- and dime-per-gallon changes — especially when prices go up. People on the top rungs have access to health care excellence at the highest possible level, while those neighbors on the bottom rungs take their meds every other day instead of as prescribed, stretching their resources — even in instances of extreme danger.

The Credit Union helps move people off of the bottom rungs of the ladder. We do so in a number of ways. By using us, consumers save considerable money versus using banks or the many fringe elements (i.e., high-cost payday lenders and check cashiers). The savings is about $400 per year according to recent studies. That’s just one of our plays.

See, we believe that if we can fix the economic issues, the community gets a lot of help in solving the other problems. Another area is jobs. A great place to start is to have good jobs with living wages. Our Credit Union provides great jobs with great benefits. Just about two out of every three of our employees have been promoted from within, and 70 percent of our staff calls severely distressed and/or distressed neighborhoods home. We’re hiring from the community to lift it up.

We are helping on at least two fronts. We also provide loan capital for transportation to and from jobs, financial education,* and benefit analysis — just to name three more. Yes, we run into the neighborhoods in need while everyone else is running out.

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