Our Mission & History
As your community development credit union, our mission is to support the economic development of our neighborhoods through consumer, business, and home loans and core financial services. Today Brooklyn Cooperative is helping to revitalize Bushwick and Bedford-Stuyvesant, two of the most under-banked neighborhoods in New York City.
Brooklyn Cooperative Federal Credit Union began life in a modest storefront that opened in 2001 on Myrtle Avenue. Since its inception in the predominantly Latino immigrant community of Bushwick, Brooklyn Cooperative has expanded, with a second branch in Bedford-Stuyvesant. Today we offer a complete and competitive array of products. The credit union is federally regulated and the National Credit Union Administration insures each member’s deposits up to $250,000.
Brooklyn Cooperative Federal Credit Union is now New York City’s fastest growing credit union, and a model community development credit union nationwide.
As a credit union it offers the same range of financial products and services as any bank, but as we believe on much fairer and more affordable terms. As a cooperative, it operates on a non-profit basis to further economic development specifically in the two neighborhoods of Bedford-Stuyvesant and Bushwick. Considering that major banks had long ago abandoned these communities (there are only 8 commercial bank branches serving more than 250,000 people), and considering that the credit union is and will always be governed by its local depositors, Brooklyn Cooperative presents a viable, indigenous, real alternative to mainstream banking.
A cooperative organization, the credit union works to deepen democracy in the communities it serves. The concept of being a stakeholder in a financial institution, of having a voice in its growth and development, is not one that is widely known in neighborhoods like Bushwick and Bedford-Stuyvesant. Open to all members of the community and directly accountable to them, Brooklyn Cooperative contributes to changing that concept of non-accountability to depositors. Members are not simply clients and they are not just beneficiaries of a small loan fund. They are shareholders with a political voice in the institution that holds their savings.
Unlike a bank – where the owners may be a completely different group of people than those who actually use the bank’s services – a credit union is owned by the people who use it on a day-to-day basis. Opening a savings account at a credit union is the same as investing in the credit union. This is why people who deposit money at a credit union are called ‘members’ instead of ‘depositors’ – an initial deposit counts as a share in the cooperative.
Each member of the cooperative can exercise ownership of the institution. Credit unions hold annual meetings during which members elect a Board of Directors and influence the direction in which the credit union grows.
This kind of structure works best when the members of a credit union all have something in common. For example, many companies set up credit unions for their employees – working for the same company is a common bond. Those who do not share in the common bond are not eligible to join the credit union.
Members of a community development credit union have in common a geographic area such as a county or a neighborhood. Brooklyn Cooperative serves a field of membership made up of people who either live, work, volunteer, or worship in Bushwick or Bedford-Stuyvesant.