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ASI FCU dedicates community facility in New Orleans
NEW ORLEANS (5/14/09)--ASI FCU, New Orleans, has dedicated a new community facility--the Clifford N. Rosenthal Community Resource Center--to city residents to help revitalize the Upper Ninth Ward, which was devastated by Hurricane Katrina in 2005.
Clifford Rosenthal (far right), president of the National Federation of Community Development Credit Unions, cuts a ribbon May 5 at the grand opening of the Clifford N. Rosenthal Community Resource Center in the Upper Ninth Ward of New Orleans. (Photo provided by the National Federation of Community Development Credit Unions)
The center is named after the National Federation of Community Development Credit Unions president/CEO. It will offer free first-time homebuyer classes, one-on-one credit counseling, financial literacy education and other asset-building products from ASI FCU, which also will have a branch on site. “This new community resource center is a concentrated effort on the part of A Shared Initiative Inc. (ASII) to revitalize the Upper Ninth Ward, and no one in the credit union movement represents those ideals better than Rosenthal,” said ASI FCI President/CEO Mignhon Tourne. On May 5, the center celebrated its grand opening with more than 100 leaders of the credit union and community development movement attending. “The center not only represents an extension of the credit union’s mission to serve the underserved, but also an opportunity for our nonprofit to expand vital community services to promote homeownership to restore this once-vibrant community,” said Sarah Taylor, senior vice president of marketing and community development, ASII and ASI FCU. The federation helped ASI FCU survive several challenges in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. Several of its branches were destroyed and staff were displaced. When money from the Federal Emergency Management Agency arrived, ASI’s net worth ratios were at unsustainable levels. The federation stepped in and expanded its investment of secondary capital in ASI and lengthened its term to aid recovery. Secondary capital is subordinated debt that can be counted toward a credit union’s net worth. “It was the best investment we ever made,” Rosenthal said. “ASI FCU was simply too important to the community to allow it to fail, particularly at a time when the credit union’s services would be so critical to helping low-income New Orleans residents resettle their communities.” The federation also accepted donations into a fund that grew to $1 million. The donations allowed the federation to make grants of $150,000 to ASII and $250,000 for ASI FCU to promote mortgage lending. ASI FCU has $260 million in assets.
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