Syracuse, NY --- This October, Cooperative Federal reaches a milestone as it celebrates its 25th year working for social and economic justice in Syracuse. The celebration culminated with an Anniversary celebration held at May Memorial on Friday evening, October 5, 2007. Nearly 200 members, community leaders, and local politicians participated in the event which featured dinner, dancing, and impromptu testimonials from people whose lives have been touched by the credit union.
"Our credit union's success has demonstrated that ordinary people can come together to create a financial institution that meets the needs of their families and neighbors," said Ron Ehrenreich, co-founder and Treasurer/CEO of Cooperative Federal. "This Silver Anniversary Celebration is more than a time to look backward: it's a time to envision our future and our ongoing commitment to serve all the Syracuse neighborhoods that have been abandoned by for-profit, corporate banks."
As its members know, Cooperative Federal is no ordinary financial institution: in addition to accounts and loans designed for working families, this credit union offers financial education, counseling, and a commitment to sustainable community development.
The credit union was formed in 1982 by neighborhood activists who to wanted to divest from the Apartheid system of racial oppression in South Africa that was heavily supported by the mainstream financial industry. From the beginning, Cooperative Federal's mission has been to serve people traditionally denied access to capital: people of color, women, LGBT individuals and families, working class households, and nontraditional workers such as artists, micro-entrepreneurs, and non-profit sector workers.
Lance McAllister, Cooperative Federal's first Examiner from the National Credit Union Administration (NCUA), recalled his experience working with Cooperative Federal's organizers and early staff. "This credit union represented, and still represents, the values that were the original goals of the credit union movement: people
helping people to support local economies. Even though none of the staff or organizers had financial training, they listened and learned and built this credit union from the ground up."
The credit union also marked its silver anniversary year by expanding its field of membership and launching an updated name and logo. Cooperative Federal formerly served two neighborhoods, but now anyone who lives, works, worships, or attends school in the City of Syracuse can become a member. The adapted logo and new name reflect the credit unions commitment to remain rooted in the cooperative movement and its community development mission while growing into a high-impact, city-wide financial institution.
For additional information about Cooperative Federal, contact: Ron Ehrenreich, Treasurer, (315) 471-1116 ext. 201, firstname.lastname@example.org. Cooperative Federal is a community development credit union with the mission to serve those underserved by conventional financial institutions, manage the aggregate assets of members in responsible ways, and rebuild the local economy in ways that foster justice.