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A typical residential street in Eastern North Philadelphia. The neighborhood grew up as a working class manufacturing center from the 19th and 20th centuries before falling into decline.

PHILADELPHIA — “You know that line about ‘if you build it, they will come?’” asked Oscar Torrealva, branch manager at the $1.3 billion TruMark Financial Credit Union’s branch in the financially strapped Eastern North Philadelphia. Torrealva said that concept was nonsense, “at least when it comes to this sort of work. If you want to help low-income and underserved people start to use your financial services, you can’t wait for them to walk in your door, you have to go to them.”

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