The Frenchtown Community Credit Union is a start-up community-based federally chartered financial institution dedicated to reversing the demographics mentioned above through financial literacy, economic empowerment, and the leveraging of outside resources into the community. The primary objective is to establish a viable financial institution that focuses on making credit and financial services available to those who live, work, worship, operate businesses, attend schools, and participate in associations headquartered in the Frenchtown community and their family members. Just as important as the provision of financial services, is the implementation of an educational and outreach initiative from a holistic perspective to truly address the core issues that have contributed to the economic and social decline of the Frenchtown community. The financial services initially offered to the Frenchtown community include: checking and savings accounts, personal loans, credit cards, auto loans, home equity loans, small business loans, and student loans. The Frenchtown Community Credit Union does plan to enter into the mortgage lending industry as the institution becomes more established.
The nucleus of the Frenchtown Community Credit Union is the Bethel Missionary Baptist Church’s Economic Development Ministry (EDM). Reverend R.B. Holmes, Jr., Pastor of the Bethel Missionary Baptist Church has envisioned the creation of community-based financial institution since the year 2000 as part of the church’s “2010 Plan”. The EDM has established an organizational committee to begin the process of creating the federally chartered credit union through the National Credit Union Administration who has granted the preliminary approval of the proposed field of membership and acknowledges the designation as a “low-income, community development credit union”.
Although there are a number of financial institutions in the Tallahassee area, none have made inroads in forging a reciprocal relationship among the Frenchtown Community Credit Union’s proposed field of membership, Frenchtown’s natural stakeholders. In the absence of meaningful outreach and education initiatives from existing financial institutions, many of the residents of Frenchtown have fallen prey to predatory lending and thrift practices. The principals involved in the establishment of the Frenchtown Community Credit Union see the current crisis as an opportunity to provide the sustainable wealth-building initiatives by addressing the needs of this disinvested community.