When people don't have access to the financial services they need, they often turn to predatory financial services, like high-interest loans, check cashing services, or rent-to-own companies that charge huge interest rates.

We know that one in four people in the western neighborhoods of Buffalo don't have access to basic checking, savings and loan products, and our mission is to change that.

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.

Good Neighbors Federal Credit Union frames its work around a neighbor-to-neighbor model that will build trust and make sure the specific needs of our community are met.

We'll offer the checking, savings and small loan services people need to achieve their dreams. As a credit union, we are a not-for-profit financial cooperative, whose earnings will be paid back to members in the form of higher savings rates and lower loan rates, rather than to investors. We will be owned by members and run by members, and our success will benefit members. By creating a financial institution by and for our own community, we will meet the financial needs of the people who live, work, play, worship and volunteer in the western neighborhoods of Buffalo.

This work is powered by the belief that when people have a financial services provider that is made up of, managed and directed by their neighbors and friends, they can access new resources, keep the resources they have, and grow their resources to achieve things that weren't possible before.


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