WASHINGTON – The National Credit Foundation has given the Illinois Credit Union League $25,000 for the League to use to help establish a community development credit union in the Southside of Chicago. The credit union, tentatively called the Southside Chicago CDCU, will serve 11 low-income South Side Chicago neighborhoods. There are no depository financial institutions with branches in the proposed credit union’s geographic service area now, although predatory lenders abound, the Foundation said. “As a former resident of Chicago, I have witnessed firsthand the poverty and societal challenges this new credit union will strive to address,” says Gary Officer, NCUF executive director. “Our financial support will help leverage the dollars needed to get this new credit union up and running so it can begin making a real difference in these neighborhoods as soon as possible.” The Illinois Credit Union Foundation has pledged $5,000 a year for three years for the proposed credit union. The league has pledged assistance to support the proposed credit union through the first few years of operations. The credit union’s organizers have set a goal of $225,000 in grant support; including the commitment from NCUF, more than $150,000 in funding pledges have been received to date. The Foundation decided to make the grant because three of the proposed credit union’s goals particularly agreed with the Foundation’s funding priorities, the Foundation said. Once chartered, the credit union will provide low-income members with access to affordable financial services and financial literacy training that will increase the chances of approximately 600 low-income households to obtain the skills and savings with which to build household and community wealth, the Foundation said. The credit union plans to offer 250 new members the opportunity to complete a comprehensive eight-week financial literacy/housing and counseling course during the first year of operations, the Foundation added. The credit union will also provide approximately 200 consumer loans in the first year of operations including loans for micro-enterprise, small-business, non-profit, personal, new and used auto repair, debt consolidation, and “payday alternative” loans.

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