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1st Financial FCU Partners to Bring Financial Capabilities to Local Community

Wentzville, MO – 1st Financial Federal Credit Union and Urban League of Metropolitan St. Louis embark on a partnership to bring financial capabilities to the North St. Louis community. 

Since 2015, The Urban League’s Save Our Sons program has sought to help more than 450 economically-disadvantaged African American men living in the St. Louis metropolitan community find jobs and have the opportunity to earn livable wages. This program completes these objectives by assisting the participants in obtaining post-secondary education and job training and teaching the imperative career-skills and work ethic necessary to become successful employees while entering today’s workforce. 

1st Financial Federal Credit Union serves this vital program with financial empowerment resources such as free checking accounts, access to transportation loans and credit building counseling. According to the FDIC’s 2013 survey, St. Louis area households were unbanked or underbanked at a rate of 23.4%, slightly above the national average, however 50.8% of African American residents of the St. Louis area were either unbanked or underbanked – nearly double the national average. The Urban Institute also recently reported a large disparity of credit score in St. Louis as predominately black neighborhoods reported an average credit score of 552, while white areas of St. Louis averaged over 730. The partnership between the Urban League and 1st Financial to intentionally serve disadvantaged African American households with immediate access to financial tools, provides large scale economic impacts for St. Louis.

In March of 2019, the credit union was excited to learn they had been the recipient of a St. Louis County Community Development Block Grant, which allowed them to hire a full-time employee, intended to serve the clients of the Save Our Sons program, on site.

Laura Woods, VP of Community Presence & Marketing said, “1st Financial is a not for profit financial institution with the understanding that true financial empowerment requires access to comprehensive checking and loan products. All people need access to these crucial, and often unreachable, financial products as a baseline to maintain and grow a healthy community.” 

To aid in the providing financial education and products, Kiara Jefferson has been hired as a full time Financial Empowerment Coordinator, at the Ferguson Community Empowerment Center and the Save Our Sons & Better Life Outreach Center as an employee of the credit union. Jefferson is now providing free financial counseling, access to credit building loans and checking accounts to the clients of Urban League of Metropolitan St. Louis throughout North St. Louis. 

Carol Minges, 1st Financial CEO, said, “Together, with the Urban League we can provide the community access to a full spectrum of financial services and resources. We believe that everyone should have access to a checking account and non-predatory loan products.”

1st Financial specializes in creating and deploying products and services that provide asset building, credit repairing, and safe borrowing options for consumers in St. Louis and St. Charles who may not have qualified at a traditional financial institution.

For more information about 1st Financial Federal Credit Union and the credit union difference, visit www.thebetterwaytobank.org.


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