Diocese of New York receives charter for credit union focused on meeting needs of low and moderate-income residents

Diocese of New York bishop candidates visit the construction site at St James’ Fordham of a building that will include an office for the New York Episcopal credit union. Photo/Diocese of New York via Facebook

The National Credit Union Administration said it has granted a federal charter to New York Episcopal Federal Credit Union in the Bronx, New York.

“The creation of New York Episcopal Federal Credit Union means members, especially those of modest means, will now have greater access to safe, fair, and affordable financial products and services,” NCUA Chairman Todd M. Harper said, according to a news release from the diocese. “Faith-based credit unions play a vital role in supporting their communities, and this new credit union continues that tradition. Through financial education and savings products, the organizers of New York Episcopal will put their members on a path to financial security and success. I commend the credit union’s sponsors for making their vision a reality.”

The credit union’s volunteer board is finalizing plans to launch operations and welcome its first members later this year, reported Episcopal News Service.

New York Episcopal Federal Credit Union will serve members, parishioners, students, and employees of the Diocese of New York, including churches, schools, and recognized charitable organizations under the management, control, or sponsorship of the diocese or its parishes, the diocese said. The credit union will focus on meeting the needs of low- and moderate-income members and providing financial education. During its first year of operations, New York Episcopal Federal Credit Union plans to offer its members basic savings and lending services, including:

— Share accounts
— Share draft accounts
— Share certificates
— New and used auto loans
— Unsecured loans
— Direct deposit
— Online access
— Cashier’s Checks
— Money Orders

An Episcopal credit union is a way to “develop an institution that actually reflects the values that we say are ours, that then puts that power in the hands of shareholders,” the Rev. Winnie Varghese said in a webinar about the credit union before the diocese’s convention in November, ENS reported. “People in the community are in charge of their own funds and can be in the work of empowerment,” she said.

 “The existing banking system is for the benefit of banking shareholders,” said the Rev. Matt Oprendek, priest-in-charge at St. James’, who is on the credit union’s inaugural board of trustees and has served as co-chair of the diocese’s credit union task force. “Our target is not just to provide an alternative to middle class folks who may not want to work with a bank,” he told ENS. The Episcopal credit union hopes “to reach the people who don’t use banks at all.”

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