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North Jerseys service to unbanked Muslims spotlighted
TOTOWA, N.J. (1/23/12)--An article appearing last week in NJBIZ magazine highlights North Jersey FCU's development of unique products based on  an Islamic religious law's prohibitions on earning and paying interest.

North Jersey FCU, Totowa, N.J., has developed products to serve New Jersey's unbanked Muslim community. Pictured is Lourdes Cortez, North Jersey FCU president/CEO. (Photo provided by the New Jersey Credit Union League.)
North Jersey FCU, with $198 million assets, Totowa, N.J., is the first credit union to offer products based on Islamic religious law, or Sharia law. It serves an unbanked population of Muslims in North Jersey, said the New Jersey Credit Union League (The Daily Exchange Jan. 20).

About two years ago, Muslims and local religious leaders in Paterson asked New Jersey FCU to provide lending and savings products that comply with their religious beliefs, according to the article.

Interpretations of Islamic law differ from congregation to congregation, making it difficult to design products that are in compliance with law, the article said. However, North Jersey FCU developed products that complied with a variety of Sharia interpretations.

Lourdes Cortez, North Jersey FCU president/CEO, said it has been a challenge to serve the Muslim community it is difficult to have programs that can calculate the interest on the consumer loans in a way that can be reflected on notes and disclosures.


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