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2018

SLCCU Partners with Operation Food Search for the Second Year in a Row (06/2018)

operation food search logo and header

Operation Food Search to Host Summer Meals Kickoff

Agency adds locations, extends service to six days a week

(St. Louis, Mo., May 29, 2018) For many children, summertime means fun activities like camp and swimming; for others, it is associated with hunger and added expenses since a family’s food budget increases an average of $300 per month when school meals are no longer provided.

Enter Operation Food Search (OFS), a non-profit hunger relief organization, which has teamed up with area partners to create additional avenues and expand existing methods for feeding all children 18 years of age and younger.  The Summer Food Service Program (SFSP), which is funded by the USDA, ensures that children continue to receive nutritious meals when school is not in session.  The summer meal program begins June 4 and runs through Aug. 10 with mobile and stationary service extended to now operate Mon. through Sat. between the hours of 11:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.

In 2012, OFS sponsored SFSP at a single location and served 5,000 meals to children.  In the summer of 2016, the introduction of the mobile meals concept proved successful in breaking down transportation barriers and increasing access to healthy food.  The organization’s 2018 goal is to serve 100,000 meals at a combination of stationary and mobile sites throughout the St. Louis region.

This year the mobile meal vans will serve 33 locations via three routes.  There will be a total of 30 stationary meal service locations such as the International Institute located at 3401 Arsenal St., as well as at both St. Louis County and Public Libraries.

OFS’ meal service provides a daily dose of nutrition, along with a variety of games, arts, crafts, and STEM projects.  The healthy meals fuel growing bodies while the engaging activities enrich curious minds.  The program includes the following:

  • OFS will team up with 20 AmeriCorps leaders who are part of the Corporation for National and Community Service, a federal agency that helps millions of Americans improve the lives of their fellow citizens through service. Along with meal service, AmeriCorps volunteers will provide educational interaction and entertaining activities.

Operation Food Search to Host Summer Meals Kickoff

  • The St. Louis Public Library and the St. Louis Country Library (SLCL) system will now feature the OFS mobile route service at 15 branch locations. OFS has offered the stationary option at several St. Louis County Libraries since 2014 and will continue this year with eight sites.  On Thursdays, SLCL will also offer Operation Backpack, a weekend food assistance program provided by OFS to ensure children are fed.
  • A partnership with the St. Louis Reading Council will provide thousands of free books to children. Along with their meal, kids will be allowed to select a book of their very own each time they visit the Food & Fun Club.
  • A special event that engages children and their families will pop up each Friday along the mobile routes. At these Food & Family Fun Club events, shelf-stable family meal kits will be distributed to parents along with fresh fruits and vegetables.  A cooking demonstration and recipe tasting conducted by OFS’ nutrition education team will highlight produce offerings.
  • The St. Louis Daily Council is providing educational materials for children to take home as an added enrichment piece.
  • A partnership with Vroom, a program of the Lume Institute, will highlight learning opportunities for children ages 0 to 5.

“We offer a one-step solution for organizations to focus on what they do best while we provide the outreach, educational services, and vendors to provide food,” said Operation Food Search Executive Director Sunny Schaefer.  “This program complements our mission to end childhood hunger and combat the toxic stress that threatens our area’s youth, and we look forward to serving our communities during the upcoming summer.”

For the second year in a row, St. Louis Community Credit Union is partnering with Operation Food Search’s SFSP. Last year, their support brought nearly 1,800 meals to the Credit Union’s then footprint of 15 branches.  This time around, St. Louis Community Credit Union is serving as a presenting sponsor of Operation Food Search’s more than 70 mobile meals distribution sites.  Text “FOOD” to 877-877 to find a location near you.

Founded in 1981, Operation Food Search (OFS) is a hunger relief organization that provides food and nutrition education.  With a strategic focus aimed at ending childhood hunger, OFS empowers families with a range of programs and services proven to reduce food insecurity and increase access to healthy and affordable food.  The agency helps feed more than 200,000 individuals on a monthly basis – one-third of which are children – through a network of 330 community partners in 31 Missouri and Illinois counties.

Operation Food Search is located at 1644 Lotsie Blvd.  For more information, call (314) 726-5355 or visit http://www.OperationFoodSearch.org.

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2017

SLCCU Commits to Healthy Foods Initiative (09/2017)

St Louis Community Credit Union Logo

St. Louis Community Credit Union Commits to Healthy  Foods Initiative Through Community Garden Support

DeSales Community Garden with neighborhood children and SLCCU staff

Tom Pickel (Executive Director, DeSales Community Development), Patrick Adams (CEO, St. Louis Community Credit Union) and Gerald Brooks (Board Chairman, St. Louis Community Credit Union) stand proudly with area children in support of the community garden.

St. Louis, Missouri, September 28, 2017 – St. Louis Community Credit Union recently partnered with DeSales Community Development to help sponsor the organization’s community garden. This effort is part of our commitment to providing avenues for access to healthy foods in local communities.

The Credit Union set out to tackle matters that deeply impact our members who may have the greatest need. Healthy foods is high on our list of outreach priorities.  It addresses our desire to affect those “kitchen table” conversations that our members have daily. We want to be part of the solution.

The DeSales Community Garden is located at 2635 California in the Fox Park/Benton Park area, home of the newly launched South City Wealth Accumulation Center (WAC).  The garden itself is a cooperative effort. Neighbors work the land plots. A portion of the food is then given to local, low-income families in need. With the Credit Union’s support, gardeners will have extended access to supplies that will help them grow more produce. This, in turn, provides continued nourishment for the neighborhood.

“DeSales Community Garden is a place where neighborhood residents grow not just food, but also community,“ said Becky Reinhart, DeSales Community Development’s Director of Community Health Initiatives.  “This support from St. Louis Community Credit Union will enable us to keep the garden growing strong. We are excited to have St. Louis Community Credit Union as a neighbor and partner!”

DeSales Community Development is a community-based non-profit organization that promotes revitalization, affordable housing and good property management in neighborhoods in and near the City of St. Louis.

In addition to funding support for the plot, the Credit Union plans to offer free community programming at the Excel Center (located inside of the WAC) through classes on healthy eating and gardening.

This effort is a true testament to our giveback. What we do matters.

SLCCU and Prosperity Connection Launch Wealth Accumulation Center (06/2017)

St Louis Community Credit Union Logo

prosperity connection logo

St. Louis Community Credit Union and Prosperity Connection Launch Wealth Accumulation Center in Benton Park

Facility provides access, education and payday lending alternatives  for the economically vulnerable 

St. Louis, Missouri, June 13, 2017 – St. Louis Community Credit Union and its non-profit partner affiliate Prosperity Connection® have come together to help low-income residents avoid the high-cost pitfalls of predatory lending. The South City Wealth Accumulation Center (WAC) is a multi-use facility that provides financial capability, affordable alternatives to payday lending and financial education all under one roof. This is the second of its kind in the St. Louis area.

The South City WAC is located at 2828 Gravois Avenue in the Benton Park West neighborhood. It aims to build wealth among area residents, foster economic growth in the community and create hope for youth and families by addressing expensive payday lending and other alternative banking services (check cashers, payday lenders, etc.) head on.

“We’ve found that when people lack resources – whether financial or otherwise – they lack options,” said Patrick Adams, CEO, St. Louis Community Credit Union. “Low-income individuals are affected most. As a result, they fall victim to high-cost predatory lenders and other alternative financial services that strip wealth from the household. The WAC is an innovative solution to that problem. We stand in the gap with our partners at Prosperity Connection to help those who need us.”

The WAC provides a new way for consumers of every economic background to access affordable financial services and increase their financial knowledge. It houses an Excel Center® for free financial coaching and classes, a RedDough Money Center® for affordable payday loans and alternative financial services and a small full-service St. Louis Community Credit Union branch.  Together, these three elements create a pathway to financial stability by offering both the knowledge and tools necessary to build individual financial confidence and capability.

“Financial capability and capacity boils down to equipping people with knowledge to manage their finances effectively and connecting them to resources that help them realize their goals,” said Paul Woodruff, Prosperity Connection’s Executive Director. “Through the WAC, our financial educators and coaches work closely with individuals and families to provide real solutions to put them on a pathway to financial freedom. Whether it’s creating a budget or establishing credit to buy a home or car, sometimes we all just need a little encouragement. That’s what we exist to do.”

The Ferguson Commission specifically recommended that to address systemic issues of economic inequity, organizations should work to deploy economic empowerment centers.  Adams and Woodruff both served on the Ferguson Commission’s Economic Inequity and Opportunity Subcommittee. The WAC is another realization of this call to action to fight poverty and inequity in the St. Louis region.

The WAC presents a holistic approach to financial empowerment through:

Free Financial Education and Coaching:  Excel Center®.  At the heart of every Excel Center lies free opportunities to the community for one-on-one financial coaching and group classes on topics ranging from building credit to home buying. Participants are also able to gain access to resources through community fairs and referrals to partners who are able meet other life needs.

Alternative Payday Lending Services: RedDough® Money Center. RedDough Money Center, owned and operated by Prosperity Connection, is a non-profit alternative to payday lending and check cashing services. It provides consumers a lower-cost option for services. RedDough features accessible, safe and affordable financial products and services, including check cashing, short-term loans, bill pay, money orders, prepaid debit cards, money transfers and more. In its first month of business, RedDough processed 17 loans totaling $11,300, and cashed six checks totaling $1,209.52.

As a non-profit, RedDough offers similar services at a much lower cost – thus keeping more money in the consumer’s pocket. For example, RedDough’s  Helping Hand Loan is a short-term installment loan that allows consumers to receive up to $1,000 at a maximum 36% APR. The repayment period is six to nine months. This is in stark contrast to the industry average of 452% APR.

RedDough reinvests the money it earns back into the community to support financial education and social services available at the on-site Excel Center®. This support cycle helps build a stronger community. The RedDough business model has gained recognition as an innovative solution in financial services by the St. Louis Regional Chamber at the Arcus Awards and as an honoree by FOCUS St. Louis for their What’s Right with the Region Awards.

Convenient Mainstream Banking: A St. Louis Community Credit Union Service Center. This walk-in St. Louis Community location offers the next generation of service through a standalone Interactive Teller Solution (ITS) unit – a fast and convenient way for members to do their banking. This technology is currently featured at the Credit Union’s Midtown, Ferguson, Gateway, St. John and Pagedale branches. Since opening, the Benton Park location has processed 555 ITS transactions, opened 33 new accounts and closed eight loans totaling $4,200. Small-dollar loans such as these are welcomed forms of relief to the economically vulnerable – especially during times of need (unexpected car repairs, putting food on the table, etc.).

The Credit Union delivers this service as part of its overall giveback to the community, adding further convenience to the mainstream banking process. As a Community Development Financial Institution, St. Louis Community Credit Union seeks to offer additional community resources outside of traditional mainstream banking that reach to the underserved. The Credit Union recently partnered with Operation Food Search’s Summer Food Service Program. The new Benton Park location also serves as a distribution outlet for free, healthy, nutritious food for area children Monday through Friday from 3:30-4 p.m.

Both the Credit Union and Prosperity Connection aligned with their banking partners to help launch the Wealth Accumulation Center. Last fall, the Credit Union announced that U.S. Bancorp Community Development Corporation (USBCDC), a subsidiary of U.S. Bank, invested $1.3 million in federal New Markets Tax Credit equity to support this new location, as well as the St. Louis Community Credit Union Gateway branch in north St. Louis City.

Prosperity Connection has received close to $250,000 in donated funds from U.S. Bancorp, TIAA Direct* and St. Louis Community Credit Union to operate the RedDough and Excel Center areas of facility and further community impact:

  • $150,000  – St. Louis Community Credit Union (RedDough operations)
  • $40,000 –   U.S. Bancorp Community Development Corporation (Excel Center Coach and RedDough Operations)
  • $65,000  – TIAA Direct* (Excel Center Coach and operations)

In addition, Prosperity Connection secured a $500,000 loan fund from Enterprise Bank & Trust to support loans and products at RedDough.

With the completion of the South City Wealth Accumulation Center, St. Louis Community Credit Union now has a branch within two miles of 98% of residents within the City of St. Louis.  To learn more about St. Louis Community Credit Union and Prosperity Connection, visit www.stlouiscommunity.com and www.prosperityconnection.org.

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 *TIAA Direct is a trade name of TIAA-CREF Trust Company, FSB.

Operation Food Search Introduces Summertime Food Opportunities (05/2017)

operation food search logo and header

Operation Food Search Introduces New Summertime Food Opportunities

Agency partners with AmeriCorps, credit union and library to provide hunger relief

(St. Louis, Mo., May 17, 2017) No matter how hot St. Louis summers get, children – approximately 173,000 in our bi-state region – still need to be fed.

Enter Operation Food Search (OFS), a non-profit hunger relief organization, which has teamed up with new area partners to create additional avenues and expand existing methods for feeding children 18 years of age and younger.  The Summer Food Service Program (SFSP), which is funded by the USDA, ensures that children continue to receive nutritious meals when school is not in session.  The summer meal program begins June 5 and runs through Aug. 11 with mobile and stationary service Mon. through Fri.

In 2012, OFS sponsored SFSP at a single location, serving 5,000 meals to children.  Last year the organization served nearly 100,000 meals at a combination of stationary and mobile sites throughout the St. Louis region.  The introduction of the mobile meals concept proved successful in breaking down transportation barriers and increased access to healthy food.  As a result, child participation at OFS-sponsored sites grew by 40% over summer 2015.  This year the mobile meal vans will expand from 16 locations to a total of 33.

New collaborations and extended services include:

  • OFS will team up with 20 AmeriCorps leaders who are part of the Corporation for National and Community Service, a federal agency that helps millions of Americans improve the lives of their fellow citizens through service.   Along with meal service, AmeriCorps volunteers will provide educational interaction and entertaining activities.
  • The St. Louis Public Library – which has five locations – will now feature the OFS mobile route service at the following branch locations:  Carpenter, Carondelet, Central, Divoll, and Walnut Park.  OFS has offered the stationary option at several St. Louis County Libraries since 2014 and will continue this year.Operation Food Search Introduces New Summertime Food Opportunities
  • St. Louis Community Credit Union – which has three of its 15 locations for distribution sites – will now feature OFS mobile route service at the following branches:  Gateway (Union and Natural Bridge), Pagedale (24:1 Wealth Accumulation Center), and Benton Park (South City Wealth Accumulation Center).
  • Community pop-up pantries, which will be held on five Fridays throughout the summer, will provide shelf-stable food, fresh fruits and vegetables, and on-site cooking demonstrations.  The pop-up pantries will be located on the existing mobile routes to ensure access to healthy food over the weekend.The SFSP is administered by the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services (MDHSS) and funded by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA).“This program is a part of our campaign to end childhood hunger and combat the toxic stress that threatens our area’s youth,” said Operation Food Search Executive Director Sunny Schaefer.  “We greatly appreciate the far-reaching community support we have received this year because it allows us to help those who would otherwise go hungry during the summer.”

Founded in 1981, Operation Food Search (OFS) is a hunger relief organization that provides food and nutrition education.  With a strategic focus aimed at ending childhood hunger, OFS empowers families with a range of programs and services proven to reduce food insecurity and increase access to healthy and affordable food. OFS is located at 1644 Lotsie Blvd.  For more information, call (314) 726-5355 or visit http://www.OperationFoodSearch.org.

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Prosperity Connection Receives Grant from TIAA Direct (04/2017)

prosperity connection logoProsperity Connection® Receives $65k Grant from TIAA Direct  to Further Community Impact 

St. Louis, Missouri, April 18, 2017 – Prosperity Connection® recently announced a two-year, $65,000 grant partnership with TIAA Direct.*The funds will go to support the organization’s efforts of providing resources, education and support to economically vulnerable residents in St. Louis City through its upcoming South City Wealth Accumulation Center (WAC) in the Benton Park West neighborhood.

“We are thrilled to deepen our relationship with TIAA Direct in order to meet the increasing community need for quality financial education services,” said Paul Woodruff, Executive Director – Prosperity Connection. “Our ability to offer financial education initiatives helps give families the hope and skills they need to navigate an increasingly complex world. We are so thankful to have TIAA Direct as partners in this work.”

Through hands-on financial coaching and educational opportunities, Prosperity Connection reaches into the community by providing outlets for underserved populations to achieve economic equity and financial capability. People who live in financially underserved areas generally lack access to affordable, mainstream financial institutions. As a result, they fall victim to high-cost predatory lenders and other alternative financial services that strip wealth from the household. Prosperity Connection actively addresses the challenges facing these neighborhoods by offering empowerment services that put individuals and families on the path to financial freedom.

TIAA Direct’s funding will help fuel several key initiatives related to Prosperity Connection’s Benton Park West outreach. The collaboration entails:

  • Financial support towards salaries and benefits for Prosperity Connection’s educational program staff;
  • Funding for much-needed financial education and life classes and events offered at the South City Excel Center, allowing Prosperity Connection to further its offerings of free services to the community residents;
  • Four (4) $2,500 Janice Mosby Scholarships for lifelong adult learners (two offered in 2017 and two offered in 2018);Prosperity Connection’s Wealth Accumulation Centers offer a holistic approach to assisting communities. Each facility offers:
  • Free Financial Education and Coaching:  Excel Center®.  At the heart of every Excel Center lies free opportunities to the community for one-on-one financial coaching and group classes on topics ranging from building credit to home buying. Participants are also able to gain access to resources through community fairs and referrals to partners who are able meet other life needs.
  • Alternative Payday Lending Services: RedDough® Money Center. RedDough Money Center, owned and operated by Prosperity Connection, is a non-profit alternative to payday lending and check cashing services, providing consumers a lower-cost option for services. It features accessible, safe and affordable financial products and services, including check cashing, short-term loans, bill pay, money orders, prepaid debit cards, money transfers and more. As a non-profit, it offers similar services at a much lower cost – thus keeping more money in the consumer’s pocket. RedDough reinvests the money it earns back into the community to support financial education and social services available at the on-site Excel Center®. This support cycle helps build a stronger community
  • Convenient Mainstream Banking: A St. Louis Community Credit Union Service Center. This walk-in St. Louis Community location offers the next generation of service through a standalone Interactive Teller Solution (ITS) unit – a fast and convenient way for members to do their banking. This technology is currently offered at the Credit Union’s Midtown, Ferguson, Gateway, St. John and Pagedale branches. The Credit Union offers this service as part of its overall giveback to the community, adding further convenience to the mainstream banking process.Since 2012, TIAA Direct has partnered with Prosperity Connection by funding financial education outreach and scholarships for adult students. Through this collaboration, Prosperity Connection has impacted several thousand individuals through financial classes and coaching, as well as provided 13 scholarships to adult students pursuing a two or four-year degree. TIAA Direct’s active support has been critical to Prosperity Connection’s success.The South City Wealth Accumulation Center is scheduled to open in the second quarter of 2017. It will be located at 2828 Gravois Avenue in South St. Louis.  In spring 2016, Prosperity Connection opened its first Wealth Accumulation Center in Pagedale through a partnership with Beyond Housing, the 24:1 Community Land Trust and St. Louis Community Credit Union.

To learn more about Prosperity Connection and its community impact, visit www.prosperityconnection.org.

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 *TIAA Direct is a trade name of TIAA-CREF Trust Company, FSB.

About TIAA Direct  TIAA Direct® is part of TIAA, a financial services organization that has been in business serving those who serve others for almost 100 years. We bank with commitment, excellence, respect and integrity. Millions of people all over the country trust the TIAA group of companies with their retirement and day-to-day banking needs.

Gateway Branch Brings Financial Hope to N. St. Louis City (02/2017)

St Louis Community Credit Union Logo

St. Louis Community Credit Union Gateway Branch Brings Financial Hope to North St. Louis City 

St. Louis, Missouri, Feb 7, 2017 – St. Louis Community Credit Union has created a pathway to economic empowerment through one of its newest locations at 3412 N. Union Blvd in North St. Louis City.

Since opening its doors in March 2016, the St. Louis Community Credit Union Gateway Branch has made financial empowerment a reality for individuals and families who need it most. Consumer traffic speaks to that need. For the period ending Dec. 2016, the Gateway Branch has delivered 225,000 in financial transactions, including:

      • $970,000 in loans
      • 1,042 new savings accounts; 93% of those individuals receiving checking accounts as well
      • Over 47,000 teller transactions and more than 178,700 ATM transactions

    The Gateway Branch was named in honor of Gateway National Bank. Gateway was the first and only minority-owned commercial bank in Missouri when it was established in 1965.  The institution took local deposits and made loans in a neighborhood where few other banks focused. Gateway Bank was founded based on need. At the time, there weren’t any financial institutions that served African Americans. Without equal banking access, African Americans couldn’t get loans to buy homes or even start businesses.In 2009, Gateway Bank was acquired by Central Bank of Kansas City, which operated on the site for three years. In 2012, that institution announced that it was leaving the area. During that time, St. Louis was the third highest underbanked African-American community in the U.S. according to the FDIC. Losing this community resource would have left a huge void for North St. Louis city residents.

The original Gateway Bank building was demolished in 2015. St. Louis Community Credit Union built a new state-of-the art facility while still preserving Gateway Bank’s great heritage.  The new location is adorned with a gallery of vintage photographs that pay tribute to Gateway and its founders. A dedication monument (using some of the original bricks from Gateway Bank) also rests on the property.

“Maintaining the legacy of Gateway National Bank for the purpose of serving the community was our goal,” said Patrick Adams, CEO, St. Louis Community Credit Union. “Our expectations were high, and the embrace given to us by the community has been nothing short of outstanding.  We stand in the gap of those who need us most, and we’re honored to do so. What we do matters.”

Gateway Bank and St. Louis Community Credit Union both share a passion to uplift the financially underserved. Several of Gateway’s traditions still live on today through St. Louis Community Credit Union, including:

  • Affordable loans and account services
  • Expanded full-service drive-up lanes for ultimate on-the-go convenience
  • Caring staff that comes from the communities it serves
  • Free financial counselingAs part of its overall giveback to the community, St. Louis Community Credit Union provides accessible locations in underserved communities, credit building products, second-chance checking accounts, a payday loan alternative and hands-on financial education. These service-minded qualities resemble those of the original Gateway Bank.With 15 locations (and still growing), St. Louis Community Credit Union is dedicated to meet the banking needs of all people, particularly low- to moderate-income and other marginalized consumers.To learn more about Gateway Bank’s rich history, visit www.gatewayslccu.com.

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    This activity is financed in part through an allocation of Community Development Block Grant funds from the Department of Housing and Urban Development and the City of St. Louis’ Community Development Administration.

2016

Unbanked in STL will Get New Wealth Accumulation Center with U.S. Bank Investment (08/2016)

us bank header graphicWITH U.S. BANK INVESTMENT St. Louis Community Credit Union opens new branches with services aimed at low-income residents in North and South St. Louis

ST. LOUIS (Aug. 31, 2016) – In an effort to bring banking and economic stability to low-income St. Louisans, U.S. Bank is investing $1.3 million in the construction of two St. Louis Community Credit Union branches, one of which will be a Wealth Accumulation Center for the unbanked.

U.S. Bancorp Community Development Corporation (USBCDC), a subsidiary of U.S. Bank, invested $1.3 million in federal New Markets Tax Credit equity in the $4 million project for the credit union, which is a Community Development Financial Institution. The investment follows U.S. Bank’s rollout Aug. 22 of its Safe Debit Account, aimed at the under- or unbanked, which provides the safety and service of traditional checking but no checks or overdraft fees.

USBCDC is also donating $15,000 to Prosperity Connection®, the credit union’s nonprofit partner affiliate that provides free financial coaching and group classes on a variety of personal finance topics in predominately economically stressed areas.

“This investment is the second we have made with St. Louis Community Credit Union because we believe so strongly in helping the underserved have access to financial services and education that will bring them more economic stability,” said Steve Kramer, senior vice president of USBCDC.

The newest project helped finance the build-out of the credit union’s recently opened Gateway Branch in North St. Louis at 3412 N. Union Blvd. and the construction of the Wealth Accumulation Center at 2828 Gravois Ave. in Benton Park. The Gateway Branch is at the site of the former Gateway Bank, the first and only black-owned bank in Missouri.

“These branches and the new services they will offer will help break down barriers so that residents of our community can have access to affordable financial services,” said Patrick Adams, CEO of St. Louis Community Credit Union. “By collaborating with banks for the greater good of our community, we are able to combine our resources to help increase people’s standard of living and better their lifestyle.”

Three combined facilities will provide educational and financial services at the Benton Park Branch’s Wealth Accumulation Center, especially those aimed at helping low-income residents avoid high-cost predatory lending:

  • Free financial education and coaching:  The Excel Center®.  The Excel Center offers free one-on-one financial coaching and free group classes, access to academic scholarship funds for adult students, and more. Prosperity Connection educators teach topics related to personal financial management, including budgeting, banking, credit, avoiding predatory lending and identity theft. Additional topics include debt reduction, paying for college and tackling student loans, auto-buying, FHA home-buying, emotional spending and more. Classes and coaching sessions are also open to the entire community.
  • Alternative payday lending services: The RedDough® Money Center, operated by Prosperity Connection, is a non-profit alternative to payday lending and check cashing services, providing consumers a lower-cost option and a pathway to financial freedom. RedDough offers check cashing, short-term loans, bill pay, money orders, prepaid debit cards, money transfers and more.   RedDough is designed for people who use other money services. As a non-profit, it offers similar services at a much lower cost – thus keeping more money in the consumer’s pocket. RedDough reinvests the money it earns back into the community to support financial education and social services available at the on-site Excel Center. This move further enhances the cycle of wealth creation.
  • Mainstream banking: A St. Louis Community Credit Union Branch. This location will house the next generation of service through a standalone Interactive Teller Solution (ITS) unit – a fast and convenient way for members to do their banking.The Wealth Accumulation Center will be the second branch of its kind for St. Louis Community Credit Union and Prosperity Connection.  The flagship facility opened in the heart of Pagedale in late February through a partnership with Beyond Housing and the 24:1 Community Land Trust.

To date, the Pagedale Wealth Accumulation Center has benefited the community in the following ways:

  • Excel Center – reached more than 570 people with free financial education
  • RedDough Money Center – secured over 180 loans totaling more than $68,000
  • St. Louis Community Credit Union (walk-in branch) – processed more than 1,100 ITS transactions

USBCDC invested $1 million with the credit union in 2015 to build branches to serve underbanked residents in Ferguson, Jennings and St. John.

U.S. Bank has invested more than $320 million in New Markets Tax Credit equity in projects in the St. Louis area since 2003.With $20 billion in managed assets as of June 30, 2016, U.S. Bancorp Community Development Corporation, a subsidiary of U.S. Bank, provides innovative financing solutions for community development projects across the country using state and federally sponsored tax credit programs. USBCDC’s commitments provide capital investment to areas that need it the most and have contributed to the creation of new jobs, the rehabilitation of historic buildings, the construction of needed affordable and market-rate homes, the development of renewable energy facilities, and the generation of commercial economic activity in underserved communities. Visit USBCDC on the web at www.usbank.com/cdc.

Credit unions are not-for-profit financial cooperatives, owned by their members.  St. Louis Community Credit Union has more than $250 million in assets and serves 52,000 members. As part of its giveback to the community, St. Louis Community Credit Union offers affordable account services and loans, locations in underserved communities and free, hands-on financial education.  St. Louis Community Credit Union provides a variety of consumer financial services, including checking accounts, ATMs, credit and debit cards, new and used vehicle loans, real estate loans, unsecured lines of credit, savings products, online banking and more. All accounts are federally insured to $250,000 by the National Credit Union Administration, a deposit-insurance agency of the federal government, and privately insured up to an additional $250,000 by Excess Share Insurance.  St. Louis Community Credit Union is recognized as a Community Development Credit Union (CDCU), a Community Development Financial Institution (CDFI), a Low-Income Designated credit union and a Minority Depository Institution as designated by the National Credit Union Administration.

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Post-Dispatch Names SLCCU As a 2016 Top Workplace (07/2016)

St Louis Community Credit Union LogoPost-Dispatch Names St. Louis Community Credit Union As A 2016 Top Workplace  

St. Louis, Missouri, July 8, 2016 – St. Louis Community Credit Union has been awarded a 2016 Top Workplaces honor by The Post-Dispatch. The Top Workplaces lists are based solely on the results of an employee feedback survey administered by WorkplaceDynamics, LLC, a leading research firm that specializes in organizational health and workplace improvement. Several aspects of workplace culture were measured, including Alignment, Execution, and Connection, just to name a few.

“The Top Workplaces award is not a popularity contest. And oftentimes, people assume it’s all about fancy perks and benefits,” says Doug Claffey, CEO of WorkplaceDynamics. “But to be a Top Workplace, organizations must meet our strict standards for organizational health. And who better to ask about work life than the people who live the culture every day — the employees. Time and time again, our research has proven that what’s most important to them is a strong belief in where the organization is headed, how it’s going to get there, and the feeling that everyone is in it together.” Claffey adds, “Without this sense of connection, an organization doesn’t have a shot at being named a Top Workplace.”

St. Louis Community Credit Union is a full-service financial institution that primarily serves low- to moderate-income individuals and families living in and around the region’s urban areas. As a Community Development Financial Institution (CDFI), the Credit Union is committed to helping consumers increase their standard of living by providing responsible, affordable account services and lending opportunities.

The organization has an innate passion to deliver financial service with dignity and respect. As a result, the Credit Union has a real connection to its members and the community. In fact, 89% of St. Louis Community Credit Union’s employees come from the communities it reaches.

“Our social mission fuels our success,” said Patrick Adams, CEO, St. Louis Community Credit Union. “Whether it is through our caring staff at easily accessible branches throughout the region, meaningful products and services or financial education, we are making a difference. What we do matters.”

St. Louis Community Credit Union has 14 branches. Three of those locations are embedded within social service agencies (MET Center – Wellston, Grace Hill – Water Tower and Kingdom House – near downtown), thus meeting consumers where they are. To learn more about St. Louis Community Credit Union, visit www.stlouiscommunity.com.

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Headquartered in Exton, PA, WorkplaceDynamics specializes in employee feedback surveys and workplace improvement. This year alone, more than two million employees in over 6,000 organizations will participate in the Top Workplaces™ campaign — a program it conducts in partnership with more than 40 prestigious media partners across the United States. Workplace Dynamics also provides consulting services to improve employee engagement and organizational health. WorkplaceDynamics is a founding B Corporation member, a coalition of organizations that are leading a global movement to redefine success in business by offering a positive vision of a better way to do business.

St. Louis Community Credit Union Opens in St. John (06/2016)

St Louis Community Credit Union LogoSt. Louis Community Credit Union Opens in St. John 

Community Impact Celebrated With a Special Ribbon Cutting Ceremony

St. Louis, Missouri, June 15, 2016 – St. Louis Community Credit Union celebrated the opening of its new St. John branch today with a special ribbon cutting ceremony. Approximately 35 of the organization’s advocates were in attendance, including government officials, community partners, St. Louis Community Credit Union Board members, leadership and staff.

“St. Louis Community Credit Union is a leader and voice for social justice in the financial services world,” said Patrick Adams, CEO, St. Louis Community Credit Union. “By expanding our reach into St. John, we can help even more individuals and families join the economic mainstream.  It’s a critical component of our community giveback.”

The St. Louis Community Credit Union St. John branch is conveniently located at 2808 Endicott Avenue, off of I-170 and St. Charles Rock Road — one of the Mid-County area’s busiest interchanges. The location occupies a lobby area and three expanded full-service drive-through lanes, as well as two ATMs. Individuals can enjoy the convenience of applying for loans, taking advantage of credit-building opportunities, opening an account (traditional and second-chance checking), making deposits, cashing checks and much more.

Furthermore, the St. John branch is equipped with two high-tech interactive teller stations, – a fast and convenient way for consumers to do their banking. This technology is also offered at the Credit Union’s Midtown, Ferguson, Gateway and Pagedale branches.

The new St. John location shares collaborative space with an Excel Center®, an outreach of its non-profit partner affiliate Prosperity Connection®. The Excel Center offers free one-on-one financial coaching and group financial and life skills classes, access to academic scholarship funds for adult students, and more. Since opening, the center has hosted classes on topics that range from Goal Setting & Saving Money to First-Time Home Buying.  Nearly 20 individual financial coaching sessions have taken place. As a result, Prosperity Connection representatives have found that clients are building their financial confidence, as well as reaching significant financial milestones.

“The City of St. John is happy to have St. Louis Community Credit Union join our community,” said Tom Halaska, Mayor, City of St. John.  “In this time of redevelopment and first-time home buyers, the services provided and training offered couldn’t come at a better time.  We welcome them with open arms into our community.”

Credit unions are not-for-profit financial cooperatives, owned by their members. St. Louis Community Credit Union is a full-service financial institution that primarily serves low-to-moderate-income individuals living in and around the region’s urban areas. As a Community Development Financial Institution (CDFI), the organization is committed to helping low-income, marginalized people increase their standard of living by providing responsible, affordable account services and lending opportunities. Since opening, the St. Louis Community Credit Union St. John branch has opened 280 new accounts and closed 100 loans for a total of $340,000.

St. Louis Community Credit Union has 14 branches. Three of those locations are embedded within social service agencies (MET Center – Wellston, Grace Hill – Water Tower and Kingdom House – near downtown), thus meeting consumers where they are. The St. John branch is just one of three locations that the Credit Union deployed in early 2016, with locations in North St. Louis City (St. Louis Community Credit Union Gateway Branch) and Pagedale (a walk-in location within a Wealth Accumulation Center).

To learn more about St. Louis Community Credit Union and its giveback, visit www.stlouiscommunity.com.

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Prosperity Connection Awards 6th Annual Scholarship to Adult Students (05/2016)

prosperity connection logoProsperity Connection’s Annual Janice Mosby Scholarship Distributes $50k in Funds to Adult Students to Date  

St. Louis, Missouri, May 25, 2016 – Rising education costs often make it challenging for some working adults to actively pursue an affordable college degree. For the sixth year in a row, Prosperity Connection® has offered the Janice Mosby Scholarship opportunity. Since its inception, the organization has successfully granted a total of $50,000 to date to 20 deserving adult students seeking higher education.

With continuous support from TIAA Direct,* Prosperity Connection has awarded scholarships to six eligible students this year totaling $15,000. Each will receive $2,500 towards their educational costs:

  • Belinda Calhoun; Healthcare Management major; Harris Stowe State University
  • Ryan Gross majors in Nursing; Goldfarb School of Nursing
  • Marie Long; Nursing major; St. Louis Community College
  • Tashandra McFarland majors in Education; Harris Stowe State University
  • Hugh Scott; Human Services major; St. Louis Community College
  • Teaira Spencer majors in Management; Harris Stowe State University

    TIAA Direct has funded 13 scholarships since 2013.

    Recognizing the critical role education plays in shattering economic barriers, Prosperity Connection created the scholarship fund in 2011 to honor the legacy of the late Janice Mosby. Ms. Mosby was a teacher and principal with St. Louis Public Schools for more than 30 years.

    With a kind heart and gentle spirit, she dedicated her life to helping students in the community develop to their fullest potential. Ms. Mosby served as a member of Prosperity Connection’s Board of Directors.

    Funding for the Janice Mosby Scholarship is a collaborative effort between TIAA Direct and Prosperity Connection. The support TIAA Direct provides goes far beyond this scholarship. The organization partners with Prosperity Connection in its reach to underserved communities.   TIAA Direct funds some of Prosperity Connection’s financial education** and community outreach efforts that benefit low-to-moderate income individuals, children and families.

    To be considered for this unique opportunity, applicants must be first-time or reentry students age 23 or older, with aspirations to attend college full- or part-time. Proof of enrollment is required.  For more additional application requirements, visit www.prosperityconnection.org. 

    Deadline information for the next scholarship funding cycle will be available in January 2017.

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     *TIAA Direct, a division of TIAA-CREF Trust Company, FSB. 

    **Certain project costs have been underwritten by the Missouri Department of Economic Development, Neighborhood Assistance Program. These educational activities are financed (in part) through an allocation of Community Development Block Grant funds from the Department of Housing and Urban Development and the City of St. Louis’ Community Development Administration.

  • Prosperity Connection Works With Partners to Launch Wealth Accumulation Center (05/2016)

    prosperity connection logoProsperity Connection Partners with Beyond Housing, the 24:1 Community Land Trust and St. Louis Community Credit Union to Launch Wealth Accumulation Center 

    St. Louis, Missouri, May 11, 2016 – Financial empowerment has come to north St. Louis County. Prosperity Connection®, in partnership with Beyond Housing, the 24:1 Community Land Trust and St. Louis Community Credit Union recently opened a Wealth Accumulation Center in the heart of Pagedale – within the 24 municipalities of the Normandy School District. This venture was celebrated in a special ribbon cutting ceremony today. Approximately 66 people were in attendance including government officials, community partners, Prosperity Connection Board members, leadership and staff.

    “The Wealth Accumulation Center provides an important alternative to payday lending and an opportunity for residents to receive financial advice no matter what their financial situation is,” said Chris Krehmeyer, President & CEO, Beyond Housing. “If you’re interested in paying off a loan, buying a home, or saving for college, the Wealth Accumulation Center is there for the residents of the 24:1 Community.”

    People who reside in financially underserved areas generally lack access to affordable, mainstream financial institutions. As a result, they fall victim to high-cost predatory lenders and other alternative financial services that strip wealth from the household. Prosperity Connection actively addresses the challenges facing these neighborhoods by offering empowerment services that put individuals and families on the path to financial freedom.

    “Our team is working every day to increase the financial capability of any person who is interested in improving their credit, decreasing debt, and saving toward a brighter future for themselves or their families,” said Paul Woodruff, Executive Director, Prosperity Connection. “We’ve created a viable pathway for individuals to take the steps needed to achieve economic independence.”

    Located at 6724 Page Avenue, the Wealth Accumulation Center serves as a one-stop outlet for much-needed financial services coupled with education. This 3,500-square-foot space includes three combined facilities providing wrap-around financial empowerment offerings to the underserved. The first of its kind for the St. Louis area, the Wealth Accumulation Center delivers:

    • Free Financial Education and Coaching:  Excel Center®.  A tremendous amount of Prosperity Connection’s outreach is done through the 24:1 Excel Center. The Excel Center offers free one-on-one financial coaching and free group classes, access to academic scholarship funds for adult students, and more.Prosperity Connection’s educators lay a foundation for personal financial knowledge with a core curriculum that includes budgeting, banking, credit, predatory lending and avoiding identity theft. Additional topics include debt reduction, paying for college and tackling student loans, auto-buying, FHA home-buying, emotional spending and more. Classes and coaching sessions are also open to the entire community.Since opening, the 24:1 Excel Center has reached more than 300 youth and adults.
    • Alternative Payday Lending Services: The RedDough® Money Center. The RedDough Money Center is a non-profit alternative to payday lending and check cashing services, providing consumers a lower-cost option and a true pathway to financial freedom. It features accessible, safe and affordable financial products and services, including check cashing, short-term loans, bill pay, money orders, prepaid debit cards, money transfers and more.RedDough is designed for people who are currently using money services elsewhere. As a non-profit, it offers similar services at a much lower cost – thus keeping more money in the consumer’s pocket. RedDough reinvests the money it earns back into the community to support financial education and social services available at the on-site Excel Center®. This move further enhances the cycle of wealth creation.
    • Convenient Mainstream Banking: A St. Louis Community Credit Union Branch. This walk-in St. Louis Community location offers the next generation of service through a standalone Interactive Teller Solution (ITS) unit – a fast and convenient way for members to do their banking. This technology is currently offered at the Credit Union’s Midtown, Ferguson, Gateway and St. John branches. Since opening, this location has processed more than 400 transactions, adding further convenience to the mainstream banking process.

    Through partnerships with social service agencies, Prosperity Connection reaches unemployed workers, the formerly incarcerated, survivors of domestic violence, the homeless, single parents, immigrants and refugees, and future entrepreneurs. The Wealth Accumulation Center fully embraces the financially underserved putting them on a path to economic success and opportunity.The Wealth Accumulation Center officially opened in February 2016 and continues to serve as a beacon of financial hope for the 24:1 community. To learn more, visit www.prosperityconnection.org.

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    SLCCU Preserves Gateway Bank Legacy with New Branch (02/2016)

    St Louis Community Credit Union Logo

    St. Louis Community Credit Union Preserves the Gateway Bank Legacy with its New Branch 

    St. Louis, Missouri, February 29, 2016 – St. Louis Community Credit Union is continuing the legacy of the former Gateway Bank in North St. Louis city by bringing low-cost banking options back to the area. The organization announced that it will open a new location on Gateway’s original site called the St. Louis Community Credit Union Gateway Branch. Government officials and community partners helped celebrate this move in a historic ribbon cutting ceremony today.

    “It makes me feel very good that after all of these years, Gateway Bank is finally getting the recognition that the founding members of the bank deserve,” said Melvyn Harrington, one of Gateway Bank’s original founders. “I think it’s great that St. Louis Community Credit Union is picking up the torch and continuing to serve the community.”

    Established in 1965, Gateway Bank was the first and only minority-owned commercial bank in Missouri. It took local deposits and made loans in a neighborhood where few other banks focused. In 2009, Gateway Bank was acquired by Central Bank of Kansas City, which operated on the site for three years. In 2012, that institution announced that it was leaving the area. During that time, St. Louis was the third highest underbanked African-American community in the U.S. according to the FDIC.

    Losing this community resource would have left a huge void for North St. Louis city residents. The potential closing of Gateway Bank would have perpetuated an already disappointing trend of reduced access to banking services for the neighborhood.

    The St. Louis City NAACP was determined to find a solution to save Gateway Bank.  As a partner of the Credit Union, the NAACP was familiar with St. Louis Community’s ability to provide access and financial capability to financially underserved communities. St. Louis City NAACP President Adolphus Pruitt reached out to Stifel Bank & Trust to discuss a plan. Together, the two parties connected Central Bank of Kansas City with St. Louis Community to work out an agreement that allowed the sale of the property to the Credit Union.

    St. Louis Community’s commitment to honoring Gateway Bank did not end there. The Credit Union provided a means for Gateway’s customers to open accounts and even hired a few employees from Gateway to work at some of its locations.

    Furthermore, St. Louis City NAACP leadership helped point St. Louis Community Credit Union in the right direction to procure a Community Development Block Grant that facilitated completion of the project. The original Gateway Bank building was demolished in 2015. Thanks to additional funding from the Community Development Block Grant, as well as support from the City of St. Louis, Stifel Bank & Trust, the St. Louis City NAACP, TIAA Direct* and others, St. Louis Community Credit Union was able to build a new state-of-the art facility while still preserving Gateway Bank’s great heritage. The Credit Union worked closely with ICS Construction Services, LTD and Grice Group Architects to revitalize the structure.

    The St. Louis Community Credit Union Gateway Branch is adorned with a gallery of vintage photographs that pay tribute to Gateway and its founders.

    “As part of our giveback, it was very important to us to preserve the outstanding history of Gateway Bank and everything that it stood for,” said Patrick Adams, CEO, St. Louis Community Credit Union. “Our new Gateway branch symbolizes a continued financial services legacy for an area that needs us. We look forward to serving the North St. Louis city community for many years to come.”

    Gateway Bank and St. Louis Community Credit Union both share a passion to uplift the financially underserved. In fact, several of Gateway’s traditions still live on today through the new Credit Union branch:

    • Affordable loans and account services
    • Expanded full-service drive-up lanes for ultimate on-the-go convenience
    • A caring staff that comes from the communities it serves
    • Free financial counseling

    Back in the 1960s, technology was a critical component of Gateway Bank’s service.  St. Louis Community Credit Union will also be offering advanced technology through Interactive Teller Solution access – a fast and easy way to bank.  The ITS technology was funded by TIAA Direct.“TIAA Direct is committed to serving those who serve others, and St. Louis Community Credit Union is providing a great service to our home city and the residents of this community with the Gateway branch,” said Rick Calero, CEO, TIAA Direct.  “We are investing in new technology, funding and services that will help St. Louis Community Credit Union offer economic opportunities and financial solutions that the community can use to grow and develop further.”
    Gateway Bank was founded based on need. At the time, there weren’t any financial institutions that served African Americans. Without equal banking access, African Americans could not get loans to buy homes or start businesses, nor would white-owned banks hire blacks for white-collar professional positions.

    George Montgomery was one of the key individuals to lead the Gateway effort. Montgomery was a native St. Louisan and earned a degree in commerce from Saint Louis University in 1955. He later went on to study real estate at Washington University. Montgomery met with his colleagues every Sunday at his home. The group dubbed itself the St. Louis Bank Development Association and was “driven” by the need for a black-owned bank in St. Louis.

    A large percentage of Gateway’s founders and board members held higher degrees – several were medical doctors; one was a dentist; others had backgrounds in business, real estate and/or finance. Most of them attended the city’s two local African-American high schools at the time, Vashon and Sumner.

    In March 1964, George Montgomery, Leo Bohanon (Associate Executive Director, National Urban League President) and Melvyn Harrington (Contract Coordinator, McDonnell Aircraft Corp.) presented a feasibility study to the regional Chief National Bank Examiner, supporting their case for opening a black-owned bank in St. Louis. On Sunday, June 27, 1965, Gateway Bank held its grand opening celebration. The remodeled building provided walk-up and drive-through banking facilities. A full range of services were offered, including checking and savings accounts, certificates of deposit, safe deposit boxes, and loans. Gateway went on to operate for 40-plus years. The bank’s founders were committed to the cause.

    Colonel Clifton Gates was among the bank’s first investors and an original board member. He went on to serve as chairman. In good times and in bad, Gates stood by the reputation of Gateway Bank, working diligently to grow the bank’s success.

    “I am honored to be a part of the rebirth of Gateway National Bank,” said Lisa Gates, daughter of Colonel Clifton Gates. “On behalf of my late father, and all of the other founders, directors and customers of Gateway, we are grateful to St. Louis Community Credit Union for making this investment in North St. Louis and thank them for their leadership.”

    As a Community Development Financial Institution (CDFI), St. Louis Community Credit Union is a full-service financial institution that primarily serves low-to-moderate-income individuals living in and around the region’s urban areas. Credit unions are not-for-profit financial cooperatives, owned by their members.

    As part of its overall giveback to the community, St. Louis Community Credit Union provides locations in underserved communities, credit building products, second-chance checking accounts, a payday loan alternative and hands-on financial education that helps empower disenfranchised consumers. These service-minded qualities resemble those of the original Gateway Bank.

    St. Louis Community Credit Union has 14 branches. Three of those locations are embedded within social service agencies, thus meeting consumers where they are (MET Center – Wellston, Grace Hill – Water Tower and Kingdom House – near downtown).

    The St. Louis Community Credit Union Gateway Branch is scheduled to open in March 2016. To learn more about Gateway Bank’s rich history, visit www.gatewayslccu.com.

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    *TIAA Direct is a trade name of TIAA-CREF Trust Company, FSB.

     This activity is financed in part through an allocation of Community Development Block Grant funds from the Department of Housing and Urban Development and the City of St. Louis’ Community Development Administration.