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Chicago CDCU launches venture with community center
NAPERVILLE, Ill. (1/28/11)--The North Side Community FCU (NSCFCU) Monday kicked off a new joint venture with the Howard Area Community Center (HACC) to add affordable banking to the list of social services available to the residents of Rogers Park, a low-income neighborhood on Chicago's far North side.
Click to view larger image Helping kick off North Side Community FCU's joint venture with Chicago's Howard Area Community Center are, from left: Shannon Callahan, director, Howard Area Employment Resource Center; Illinois State Sen. Heather Steans (D-7); and Jennifer Sierecki, manager of North Side Community FCU. (Photo provided by the Illinois Credit Union League)
More than 30 individuals, including representatives from the credit union's select employee groups (SEGs), community leaders, Illinois State Sen. Heather Steans (D-7) and the Illinois Credit Union League, attended the launch luncheon. The credit union's satellite banking branch opened for operation Thursday in a back office of HACC's employment resource center. It will be open every Thursday from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. CT. The credit union has a long-standing relationship with the HACC, one of its SEGs, and as a financial partner to its Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) site for the past three years. Rogers Park contains pockets of severe poverty, with more than 21% of all households reporting annual incomes of less than $15,000. Many adults there have low educational achievement and need job skills. The low-income-designated, $10 million asset credit union offers services such as pre-paid debit cards, low-cost checking and savings accounts, and financial education, including homeownership education, credit counseling and budgeting assistance. It also offers a Payday Alternative Loan (PAC), which has saved its members more than $5 million since 2002, with 5,600 loans totaling $2.8 million. HACC operates a network of programs that respond to short- and long-term issues of poverty at several neighborhood sites. It helps adults acquire academic, employability, and life skills needed for self-sufficiency. NSCFCU CEO Jennifer Sierecki pointed out that each organization's programs will complement each other. "We will begin to offer financial classes on site in order to make it easier for participants in HACC's training and classes to take advantage of our products and services," she said. "In addition, as community members actively take part in citizenship classes within HACC's English as a Second Language program, the credit union's New American Loan product will become a resource once an individual is eligible and ready to pay for the cost of citizenship," Sierecki said, adding the partnership is "a win-win for both organizations."


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