HOUSTON – Texas will charter its 25th church-affiliated credit union when the Light Commerce Credit Union receives the formal nod from the state sometime around January 15, according to the Texas Credit Union League and Harlene Johnson, the credit union’s future manager. “Of course nothing is certain,” Johnson said, “but we have gotten some very encouraging responses to our applications,” she added. The credit union will be sponsored by the 23,000-member New Light Christian Church, based in Houston and have branches in Beaumont and Austin. The credit union will initially only serve members in the Houston church, though all 23,000 will be eligible to be members, Johnson said. Johnson said the church had surveyed its members and that about 10% of them, or 2,300, had said they would support the credit union. Based on a percentage of that figure, which the credit used to keep its estimate conservative, the institution forecast $176,000 in assets at the end of its first year and $2.2 million by the end of its fifth year. Johnson said she anticipated a formal opening sometime before the end of the first quarter of 2003. The idea for the credit union came from the church’s pastor, Ira Van Hilliard, Johnson said. Hilliard had a vision that the church should be able to offer its members some sort of financial products and services and he had asked Johnson, a former bank manager and Community Reinvestment Officer for a bank in Louisiana, to organize the project.

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