In September 1981, neighborhood activists held the first meeting of an organizing committee to form a new Credit Union that would serve our community’s financial needs. The meeting was held at a home on Westcott Street, and members explored the need for a homegrown financial institution to meet needs of residents and organizations that were not being met by conventional, for-profit banks.
After initial organizing over the preceding summer, 15 people who expressed interest were invited to the first meeting. Eleven showed up for the discussion, assigned tasks, and set the next meeting. Discussion focused on creating a source of financing for cooperatives and other alternative organizations; taking our money out of banks that were invested in the racist apartheid regime in South Africa; and serving folks who were not being well-served by the banks, including single women, “minorities," gays and lesbians, artists and musicians, and others without much money.
We also talked about wanting to avoid mistakes of the past, like several loan funds from the 1970s that had failed. Federal insurance seemed essential.
Tasks assigned were quite basic: What do we need to do to form a credit union? How do we get federal insurance? What skills do we need? Who do we contact and how?
This milestone marks the beginning of Cooperative Federal's journey. As we head into our Thirtieth Anniversary Year, 2012, we hope you'll join us in celebrating our past--and looking forward to a promising future.