In the West Side, Black Rock, and Riverside neighborhoods of Buffalo, there are barriers that keep people from accessing the financial services they need.
Our diverse neighborhoods include refugees, people living on low incomes, and a lot of people who don't speak English at home. By starting a community-driven credit union, we're aiming to build bridges over those barriers to ensure that all of us can achieve our dreams.
Why do people use financial services that cost them more? Research shows it often comes down to trust. When a financial institution is not culturally accessible, or when the people in a neighborhood don't know the people who work at a financial institution, they are much less likely to use it. Predatory financial services know this, and they often employ people from a neighborhood to build trust in a community. While some bank branches exist in low-income neighborhoods, banks don't usually have the flexibility to custom-design their branches and products for the needs of low-income neighborhoods.