Minnesota Department of Commerce certifies first Black-led cooperative credit union


This article was written by Amy Luesebrink

Village Financial Cooperative in North Minneapolis moved one step closer to bringing their credit union into a reality. It received a contingent charter approval from the State Department of Commerce and is one step closer to having its first Black-led credit union.

Village Financial Cooperative is a Community Development Financial Institution with a mission to pave a way towards prosperity for all people. According to a recent Startribune article, the police killing of Philando Castile in 2016 spurred this initiative. According to the Village Financial Cooperative website it is an emerging Black-led Credit Union based on the Northside of Minneapolis sparking a financial renaissance within the local Black community and beyond. It has grown to over 1600 members as of September 2018, who believe in reversing the racial disparities in the state. They come from all backgrounds and walks of life including anyone who lives, works, worships or goes to school in Hennepin or Ramsey County. It has a goal of reaching 5000 pledged members by opening June 19, 2019 or Juneteenth, a date recognizing the emancipation of Black slaves.

Village Financial offers low-interest personal loans, affordable check cashing and micro-loans to emerging Black cooperatives. The contingent approval by the state means the cooperative’s application moves to the National Credit Union Administration, which will decide whether to grant it insurance on its deposits, said Me’Lea Connelly, who leads vision and strategy for Village Financial, in a recent Startribune article. Connelly also states that the co-op has received initial financial support from the Jay & Rose Phillips Family Foundation of Minnesota, and the Minneapolis City Council and Mayor Jacob Frey allocated $500,000 for the credit union in the 2019 budget. The 1,600 pledged members — mostly Black residents and mostly from the Northside — have promised to join the cooperative, totaling $4.2 million in deposits.

For more info: Villagefinancial.org, 612-588-7821, or 227 Colfax Avenue N #230, M-F: 8 a.m.-4 p.m., drop-ins 9 a.m.-noon.