Credit Union to feature “banking with a heart”

If your car conks out, a tree falls on your house and you’re flat broke, there will soon be a place to borrow money at a fair rate.

The city council finance committee today approved a resolution of support for a non-profit credit union that will serve the poor and working class.

The WeDevelopment Credit Union is expected to open later this year at a building at 19th and Vine streets.

The exact boundaries it serves are still being set but it will be roughly the east side area and into the Ruskin Heights area, officials said.

They said that at least 50 percent of those within the credit union area must have incomes of no more than 80 percent of the median Kansas City income.

Kansas City Power & Light is providing $1 million to start the credit union and the city is committing $250,000.

The credit union was a recommendation of a city task force.

City Councilman John Sharp said banks do not serve many  areas of the city and desperate people resort to predatory lenders and check cashing businesses.

With the new credit union, people will be able to get loans for small businesses or for emergencies at reasonable rates, he said. “It will provide a source of traditional banking with a heart.”

Councilman Michael Brooks said, “This could be a major game changer.”

And he thanked KCP&L, saying, “People don’t just give you a million dollars every day.”

Sharp said he hopes the resolution, which now goes to the full council for approval, will call attention to the effort and prompt other companies to put money into the WeDevelopment Credit Union.

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