City Activists, organizers, chairpersons, and pastors all teaming up to create the Trenton Community Credit Union. The Credit Union is headed by Algernon Ward Jr, a well-known figure in the city and Co-Chair of the Credit Union.
According to the website they explain,” We understand that when people of goodwill put their resources together, there is no need to ask anyone for anything. By using our own money, we can take care of ourselves. There is power in unity… The Trenton Community Credit Union is acquiring its banking charter to operate in New Jersey. “
Ward explained that starting this Credit Union is a way to bridge the civil rights gap.
“One of the big, less great, civil rights issues that we’re dealing with is economic empowerment. African Americans have been vexed by access to capital for our whole time in this country,” Ward says.
Unlike large corporate banks, Ward explains a credit union is based within the community to serve the community. They allow for the community they serve to elect the board members running the community and thus give more power to the community.
As Willard Alonzo Stanback, the Treasure on the Board of Incorporators, explains a lack of trust in Trenton with Corporate banks.
“Historically, what we have seen is that certain people for certain populations have not had the most positive relationships with a traditional banking institutions. There’s a lack of trust there,” Stanback said. “So, the credit unions have been set up to help work with people of particular groups, where it’s owned by the people of those groups so you have a situation where you have your own asset that you’re working with”
The credit union can help the community grow by offering money at a commercial rate for those that might see a higher interest rate in their loans.
“We can borrow money at a commercial rate.” Ward explains, “Then we can loan it to our members at a very low rate because we don’t have a profit built into that. So, we’re automatically eligible to lower your interest rates or your mortgages or any loans because we get money cheaper than you can get it individually.”
To begin creating a local bank for those in Trenton, Ward would need 350 subscribers, 51 % or more of those members being from, working in, or going to school in Trenton. Currently, he is at 225. Though he has a much higher expectation, hoping for over 3,000 members to join.
“We also can focus our economic power to improve the lives of the people in the city of Trenton. In particular, we look at their needs and design our banking services to address those needs. Our unique needs may be different from the well.” Ward said.
One of those needs Ward is renting versus owning. According to homefacts.com, 65% of Trenton’s occupied housing unit is rented by the citizens of Trenton.
“There wouldn’t be as many people renting property there well we have a large number of people who rent a property. And the truth is they’re paying rent when it could be paying a mortgage.”
Stanback explains that certain things need to happen before the bank is able to function.
“Number one, we have to have the 350. Right. Number two, we need to be able to present to the regulator’s a business plan, where they can get a comfort, that this is going actually to work and be successful. And number three, we need to build relationships both amongst possible members of the credit union and others, to get the credit union up and running.”
According to the website, The Credit Union is looking to add classes and seminars to educate both adults and children on budget money. To learn more and sign up, go to https://tccunj.com.