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SEATTLE – Their presence in this country spans nearly a century but credit unions still remain “one of the best-kept secrets,” Bob Harvey, chairman of the African-American Credit Union Coalition recently said. Harvey, who is also president/CEO of $434 million Seattle Metropolitan Credit Union, provided some fundamentals on how to join or start a credit union as well as what the cooperatives have to offer in an April 14 article in the Tampa Bay Business Journal. Forming a credit union, while doable, is an ambitious task, Harvey said. “It’s very difficult, and you have to be very focused,” he told the publication. “And you have to meet the same regulations and disclosure requirements as big banks.” Mark Wolff, CUNA senior vice president of communications, was also quoted in the same article, saying credit union membership saves an average family about $150 annually through lower rates and fees. Wolff also said some credit unions provide services for small businesses, including “small loans that banks aren’t interested in.”

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