Foundation fund

“Transformative moment that could help lift the whole community”: Community First Fund opens its first credit union

Community First Fund, an independent nonprofit community loan fund, said it hopes to expand access to banking and other financial services in Lancaster to Black, Hispanic/Latino and immigrant communities as well as women with disabilities. opening a new credit union.

Community First Fund Credit Union opened at 51 S. Duke St. in Lancaster on Tuesday after years of planning.

“The credit union’s mission is supported by providing access to consumer financial products and education that enhance personal financial stability and provide opportunities to obtain affordable, quality housing,” the organization said in A press release.

To better understand the local need and demand for a credit union, Community First Fund partnered with the Opinion Research Center at Franklin and Marshall College and surveyed Lancaster County residents. The organization said the survey showed a need to enhance financial mobility for families and that the creation of a financial hub would help foster financial fairness and economic prosperity.

“We’ve served Lancaster for 30 years by providing access to credit to entrepreneurs who want to make a positive change in the community,” said Daniel Betancourt, president and CEO of Community First Fund and the credit union in a statement. Press. “With the credit union, our mission is to provide a pathway to financial stability for families. We are excited to expand our service in the community and celebrate this milestone.

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The organization submitted plans for regulatory approval for the Lancaster Credit Union site in December 2020. Community First Fund Credit Union was licensed by the National Credit Union Administration in June 2021.

Community First Fund has received funding from private donors, local foundations such as the Calvin and Janet High Foundation, Lancaster County Community Foundation, The High Foundation, and the Ferree Foundation. Santander Bank has pledged $500,000 in contributions to the credit union over five years. M&T Bank has pledged to provide $1 million over the next five years to the credit union.

“This moment doesn’t end with the opening of Community First Fund Credit Union in Lancaster,” Tom Koppmann, M&T Bank’s regional president for southeast Pennsylvania, said in a press release. “It is about expanding access to banking and other financial services to communities in the region that have been underbanked for years. It’s a transformative moment that could help uplift the whole community.

The Community First Fund received a $10 million gift from philanthropist MacKenzie Scott in 2020. At the time, Betancourt said some of the money would go towards establishing the new credit union.

The new branch is about an hour from Harrisburg.

The organization plans to eventually open credit unions in Harrisburg, York and Reading, Betancourt said in 2020.

Community First Fund is a private, independent, not-for-profit community development financial institution whose mission is to provide capital where it is not usually available. The non-profit organization has offices in the Lancaster, York, Harrisburg, Reading, Allentown and Philadelphia areas.

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