Ministry and community banking

What might be the relationship of ministry and community banking? This piece from Duke’s “Faith and Leadership” blog explores this question about community banking in Durham, NC.

High-touch and old-school

The Latino Community Credit Union was founded more than a decade ago in response to violence against a growing Latino population. Today, its community-focused approach to banking has made it a model institution for how to serve immigrants, the poor and diverse customers.

From Duke University’s “Faith and Leadership” blog

A woman waits with a bag in the lobby of the Latino Community Credit Union in Durham, N.C. It’s 2000, and it’s near closing time for the credit union’s lone branch. Luis Pastor asks how he can help her. Now LCCU’s CEO, he was a volunteer at the time.

She opens the bag. It’s full of bills covered in dirt — about $40,000 in all. She had buried her life savings in the ground. At the advice of a friend, she dug it all up and brought it to open an account at LCCU.

“In order to save this amount of money, it takes years and years,” Pastor said. “When this person decided to put all this fear and trust on us, when we were just a 6-month-old credit union, for me it was a shocking moment. She trusted us.”

She was the exception at the time. In 1999, 78 percent of Latinos in Durham County were unbanked. They all might not have been burying their money in their backyards, but they weren’t keeping it secure in checking or savings accounts.

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