A pathway to community economic development

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Southern New Hampshire University
1st Bergen Federal Credit Union proposes to develop and construct a new community branch operation in Garfield, NJ with a major goal of building financial stability for low-income households and residents of Garfield, NJ, a city with an increasing poverty rate and a burgeoning immigrant population. Many do not access mainstream financial institutions and are using high-cost financial products such as payday lenders and check cashiers. While the branch will provide city residents access to affordable financial products and services, the long-term goal is to attract the unbanked and underbanked low-income households to the branch, with an ultimate objective to have low-income people save and/or borrow thus helping to build financial stability and assets both personally and community-wide. The credit union will offer a series of financial literacy and budgeting programs in order to educate low-income credit union members on the benefits of money management and participation in the banking system. By the end of three (3) years of operations, the branch is forecasted to have acquired over $2.5 million in assets and a loan portfolio of over $2 million, with profits being reinvested in the credit union for the benefit of its members.