About Us / Membership
Faith Community United Credit Union, Inc. "Faith" was chartered in 1952 by the State of Ohio as "Mount Sinai Baptist Church Credit Union" to serve the members of one inner city church. After saturating the membership and realizing the broader need for the services by the Low-income Target Population (LITP), in 1991 Faith became a Community Development Credit Union (CDCU) focused on serving low income residents of Cuyahoga County, Ohio. The credit union's mission statement reflects that status as a CDCU is central to their identity and guides the policies of the credit union; "Faith Community United Credit Union, Inc. a Community Development Credit Union (CDCU) is a financial cooperative owned by its members who live/work/worship in Cuyahoga County, Ohio. It exists for the financial benefit of the membership and community at large.
The credit union's focus on community development emerged when the savings and loans closed in the minority neighborhoods in 1989. The credit union became the only viable provider of financial products to the LITP. Remarkably, one year after obtaining its community charter, Faith reached self-sufficiency. Faith moved from an office in the church basement to a donated abandoned bank branch building. Initially Faith operated with an all-voluntary staff with $100,000 in grants and operational subsidy. In one year, Faith operated with no outside funding and paid staff. Since then the credit union has operated with sophisticated management staff, over 50 volunteers and as many as two VISTA interns.
Being approved as a Community Development Financial Institution (CDFI) by the U. S. Treasury in 1996 was a monumental achievement. That status and the matching grants connected propelled Faith to become a recognized resource for disadvantaged inner city residents of Cuyahoga County, Ohio. Faith is in the forefront to assist low-income families and individuals to estblish habits and strategies for financial family development and the creation of assets. Through unique underwriting and terms, and the provision of interest subsidies and grants, Faith has provided loans to churches, individuals and organizations for the purchase of first homes, abandoned properties for redevelopment and foreclosure prevention.
Since 1994, Faith has provided loans for education, real estate (acquisition, rehabilitation and improvement), and small business (start-up, acquisition and expansion) to residents of the immediate neighborhood through the Cleveland Individual Development Account Program (CIDA). Faith has many community partnerships and is a respected community leader both with partners and participants in its service of IDA accounts. Faith's development activites include financial education, asset building, including Individual Development Accounts (IDA's), credit counseling and rebuilding, foreclosure prevention and the rekindling of community pride. Faith is a partner in this program with WECO. Matching Funds are administered by WECO and on deposit with Faith. Participants in the program deposit their savings in Faith Credit Union.
Faith became an approved SBA lender in 1999. Faith has positioned itself as the financial institution of choice for many of the area residents, providing services to empower the LITP like the "Grace Loan." The Grace loan program offers an alternative to the 300 percent interest rates charged by "Pay-Day Lenders." Its PRIDE (Predatory Relief & Intervention Deposit) Loans covered in part by a deposit from the Ford Foundation through the National Federation of Community Development Institutions is assisting the current survival needs of the community.
The PRIDE package includes WHEELS loans, GREATER GRACE loans and MERCY MORTGAGE loans.
Faith Community United Credit Union maintains the credit union's long-term financial stability and fosters the credit union's philosophy of "people helping people" by initiating partnerships with other institutions including credit unions, churches, the Ohio Credit Union League, WECO, the SBA, City of Cleveland, businesses and community agencies. Through these partnerships the credit union is able to provide meaningful, sustainable services to our CDFI LITP.
Faith proudly lists non-member deposits and grants from partners over the years including: The Lillie Foundation, Cleveland Foundation, The George Gund Foundation, The Ohio Baptist State Convention, The Word in Action, Geisse Family Foundation, Eaton Family CU, Desco CU, Seven Seventeen CU, NFCDCU, The Ford Foundation, WECO, Key Bank, Dollar Bank, Third Federal Savings Association, Presbyterian Foundation, to assist in providing services to the LITP.
The deposits of these organizations provide capital for Faith to return to the LITP in loans with flexible underwriting and terms. No other financial institution in Cuyahoga County is offering higher risk loans with flexible underwriting and terms to the LITP. The result of Faith filling this need is a virtuous cycle of incredible demand. These partners see first hand the need and demand that Faith can fulfill to the LITP. Qualitative research and testimonials have resulted in feature stories that appeared in both the Cleveland Plain Dealer on Faith's IDA partnership with the WECO IDA Fund and a CBS news report regarding how the credit union serves low-income people trapped with high interest and unsecured debt. The feature showed how Faith returns them to traditional rates. Programs such as these would not be possible without the deposits of Faith's partners. The implementation of Faith's programs, through flexible terms and underwriting, make these critically needed services available to the LITP a reality.
What is a credit union?
A credit union is a group of people who have joined together for the purpose of saving their money in a common fund from which they make loans to members. Credit unions are significantly different from other financial institutions in that members are also owners. Each member/owner establishes their "share" within the credit union when they open their savings (or "share") account. This initial deposit permits the member/owner to participate in the credit union’s direction by running for and electing the board of directors.
What happens to the earnings?
Credit unions are also different in that earnings are distributed back to the members in terms of higher savings rates, lower loan rates, added services, and lower fees.
How safe and secure is a credit union?
Even though credit unions are volunteer-led organizations, safety and security of operations and member funds are paramount. Besides internal audits, credit unions are required to fulfill regulatory requirements for operations. This credit union is not federally insured, however, each FCUCU account is protected up to $250,000 by the American Share Insurance (ASI), a private insurer.
How do you enroll?
Complete an application, and return it along with your initial $50.00 share account deposit (10 shares), and one-time entrance fee to become a FCUCU member/owner.
Services FCCU offers:
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