Phone (269) 441-9114
80 W. Michigan Ave
Battle Creek, MI 49017
PO Box 4078
Battle Creek, MI 49016
For Immediate Release
June 8, 2010
A Different Kind of Credit Union Opens its Doors
Do you stash money in your mattress? Or, give it to family members to hold for you? Good news, a better solution has arrived. A new and different kind of credit union will celebrate its grand opening on Monday, June 14.
Inspire Community Development Federal Credit Union is located at 80 West Michigan Avenue, in downtown Battle Creek, across the street from Shrank’s Cafeteria. The community is invited to the opening ceremony, which will begin at 11:00 and will include snacks, beverages and giveaways.
“It’s an incredible asset to the community,” said interim CEO Victoria Reese. “My predecessors, my board and I have worked hard for this day.” Inspire is the first new credit union to be chartered in Michigan in twenty five years.
What is different is the credit union will serve members of the community who do not already have an account at a bank or credit union. It will specialize in serving low and moderate-income residents.
“We want to reach the 20% of the community who do not have banking relationships,” said board president Reverend Dave Morton. “Some people have credit issues or had a bad experience with a financial institution. Our welcome mat is out for these folks, especially.”
Repairing Credit, Digging Out of Debt
Inspire will help people restore their credit ratings and reduce debt. Personal loans will be part of their services, but at affordable interest rates. “People with limited or poor credit history often pay excessive amounts of interest on loans,” said Reese, “we are the solution.”
They will gradually implement services, beginning with savings accounts, money orders and personal loans plus Christmas and vacation club accounts. Later they will phase in checking accounts, car loans and possibly ATM cards.
Financial education is part of their mission, so there will be ample information and the opportunity to ask questions and pick up tips about good financial management. A second mission is to reinvest into the community so that its money will stay working in Battle Creek.
Like all credit unions, it is a not-for-profit organization that is managed by its members. Each depositor gets to vote on how the credit union operates. Deposits are federally insured, like all chartered credit unions and banks, and are federally insured up to $250,000.
A Place in History for New Members
First they must build up their capital reserves.
A place in history will be secured for people and organizations who establish accounts (that is, join the credit union) in the first ninety days. They will be memorialized as founding members. “Twenty five years from now people will look back at the names of the founding members and express their appreciation,” noted Morton. “These depositors are critical to us now, and we will never forget who they are. They are people who want to make a difference in the community.”
Kellogg Community Federal Credit Union (KCFCU) has been a primary sponsor of the effort. Even after opening, they will continue to support the credit union by providing data processing services. “KCFCU provides the professional expertise we need to serve our members,” said Reese.
To minimize expenses, initial operating hours are from noon to five on Monday and Wednesday, and nine to seven on Fridays. “We will extend these hours as soon as we can”, said Reese.
The cost of starting up the credit union was covered by the Battle Creek Community Foundation Battle Creek Unlimited, The Miller Foundation, United Way of Greater Battle Creek, Comerica Bank and the W.K. Kellogg Foundation. A long list of other community organizations and businesses provided support in moving the credit union from concept to reality.
“Other local credit unions and banks have been very supportive, they don’t view us as a competitor but as fulfilling a community need,” said Morton.
More information about Inspire Community Development Federal Credit Union is available by contacting Victoria Reese at (269) 441-9114, or email firstname.lastname@example.org, or at yourguardian.org/inspire.html.