St. Louis Community Credit Union Emphasizes “Community”
A Credit Union is a not-for-profit financial institution that accepts deposits, makes loans, and provides a wide array of other financial services and products. This definition only begins to describe St. Louis Community Credit Union (SLCCU). For over 80 years SLCCU has existed to provide residents of the St. Louis region with safe, affordable and accessible financial services and products through caring service and education.
While access to traditional banking services is provided, SLCCU’s approach goes much further. Its vision to increase the standard of living and better the lifestyle of members, staff and the community encompasses more than financial services. For example, when tough situations arise, staff members strive to connect members with needed resources such as food, diapers, and hygiene products. Another example arises from the recognition that Black women are disproportionately susceptible to breast cancer. SLCCU partners with a local health system to bring mobile screening to their branches, eliminating obstacles to this important part of women’s health care.
The SLCCU vision, along with operating in and supporting economically disadvantaged communities, led to its approval for certification as a Community Development Financial Institutions Fund (CDFI Fund) in 2009. Having this designation provides opportunities for grants or awards from the Fund to inject capital into neighborhoods with limited access to financing. Since the certification involves meeting numerous requirements, it also attracts attention from philanthropic organizations and can lead to new financial investors, such as YouthBridge.
YouthBridge and St. Louis Community Credit Union developed a relationship while working with the Community Development Funders Forum in St. Louis over the last couple of years. The two organizations seemed aligned, but the CDFI Fund certification gave YouthBridge the confirmation of common objectives.
According to Paul Woodruff, VP of Community Development, SLCCU is delighted to be CDFI Fund certified and is appreciative of the doors it has opened. SLCCU is equally as proud of the inadvertent achievement of being one of the nation’s largest Minority Depository Institutions. Woodruff said, “We are solely responsible to our almost 60,000 shareholders, the majority of whom are African American.” SLCCU believes strongly in racial equity and works hard to authentically tell the story of the racial wealth divide that continues to exist. It also works to engage a wide range of people and organizations who share the goal of eliminating that divide, and who support the goal through deposits or other forms of investment. To that end, SLCCU created the Community Impact Deposit program. For investors this is a “special-rate deposit designed to maximize community impact.” In effect, the depositing organization exchanges a small portion of its traditional investment return rate to impact the community.
YouthBridge sees the value of this program and is excited about the Board’s recent decision to invest with SLCCU as part of our local impact investing strategy. For many investors it is an opportunity to be philanthropic while being a good steward of their investment dollars. That is what we call a win-win!
YouthBridge connects donors with community needs. If you are interested in learning more about how we can make charitable giving easier for you, please contact Michele Mosley.