Inclusiv, a nonprofit dedicated to boosting prosperity in low-income neighborhoods, is partnering with the Bedford Stuyvesant Restoration Corporation and The Concord Federal Credit Union to bring its services to Bedford Stuyvesant.
The collaboration will help central Brooklyn residents access safe, fair and affordable financial services and will grow the capacity of The Concord Federal Credit Union, a historic African-American credit union. It has the potential to triple the size of the credit union and offer access to affordable loans, credit building, savings accounts and financial counseling to an additional 2,000 central Brooklyn households, the nonprofit announced on Tuesday.
The announcement comes just weeks after Restoration Plaza revealed a five-year plan to re-envision Restoration Plaza as an institution for equity that will help close the racial wealth gap in Central Brooklyn.
“This important partnership builds financial empowerment and security for residents and keeps residents’ money in the communities they live in,” said Cathie Mahon, CEO of Inclusiv. “More than that, this kind of work is helping revitalize legacy African-American institutions to be more visible and effective agents of change in their communities.”
Nearly a million New York City households are un- or under-banked. In Bedford Stuyvesant, approximately one in five households are unbanked and nearly 30 percent are under-banked, meaning they have a checking or savings account but still use alternative financial services such as expensive check cashing and high-interest predatory loans. The unemployment and poverty rates in the neighborhood are significantly higher than in other areas of Brooklyn and citywide.
“This partnership will support Restoration’s initiative to disrupt and close the exploding racial wealth gap,” said Colvin W. Grannum, Restoration’s president and CEO.
Over the past 25 years, the wealth gap between black and white Americans has nearly tripled, Grannum added. In 2018, the median white household wealth in the U.S. totaled $140,000 vs. $3,400 for African Americans.
In addition to expanding financial services to residents, the partnership will also help boost the long-term success of the Concord Federal Credit Union, a central goal of the larger African American Credit Union Initiative.
Minority-owned credit unions, lifelines for financial security and growth in minority neighborhoods, are closing at the staggering rate of roughly one per week. African-American credit unions, which make up 50 percent of all minority-owned credit unions, are among the fastest to decline. These closures are particularly concerning given that Black and Hispanic households are five times more likely to be under-banked than White households according to the FDIC.
“The partnership will elevate the prominence of Concord Federal Credit Union and give local residents greater access to financial services and products that will help them better manage their financial resources and build assets such as savings for emergencies, education or home ownership,” explained Grannum.