Delaware credit union moves forward with effort to serve low-income community

The teller-counter is installed and computers are going on as Delaware’s first new credit union in decades prepares to go into business. 

Congressman John Carney visited with board members of the Delaware Community Reinvestment Action Council, which recently obtained approval to create Stepping Stones Community Federal Credit Union.

Carney serves on the Financial Services Committee.  The panel has been holding hearings on the role of credit unions nationally.  The first-term congressman said he is especially pleased with the educational component of the credit union, which would function as a bank offering financial services and savings options. 

“That’s one of the biggest problems people in our country face is getting overextended financially,” Carney said, adding that many families are one paycheck away from facing financial disaster.  The credit union would also provide another option to payday and check-cashing establishments that charge exorbitant interest rates, further plunging a person into debt. 

“This kind of an entity, a credit union, will help people manage their resources better as well,” Carney added.

DCRAC Executive Director Rashmi Rangan said the credit union will initially be open three days a week, and will be staffed by volunteers.  Pledged deposits already amount to $660,000. 

DCRAC also continues to pursue partnerships with local banks and corporations.  Rangan said they are getting the sort of cooperation that more big companies should be involved with, rather than focusing almost almost exclusively on shareholder interests and “unholy bonuses and paychecks.”

“The community is a tiny piece in the corporate culture, which we hope will change,” Rangan said. 

Carney also said he is getting a clear message from the protesters who have “occupied” Wall Street and have brought demonstrations to other cities, including Wilmington.  “They want us to solve problems.  They want us to make sure the big institutions don’t take advantage of people.  Our role is to strike some balance where we have businesses that can operate successfully and to hire people, provide jobs and provide economic opportunity for folks,” Carney said.

“I think the message, loud and clear, I’m hearing from those folks is ‘stop messing around, do your job in Washington DC, inspire some confidence by getting things done in Congress.’  That’s what I’m trying to do.”

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