From the Blog
Welcome to Brooklyn Cooperative’s blog! We decided to start a blog as a way to introduce ourselves. Credit unions aren’t as familiar to most people as banks, though our services are likely better suited to their needs. Hopefully, through this blog, we will show that.
A Christmas Story
Posted by Samira Rajan @Dec 15 2018
At a meeting I attended a couple of weeks ago, the attendees were asked to introduce themselves with their name, organization, pronouns, and one thing that currently gives them hope. I wasn’t sure at all what I would respond to that — not much gives me hope these days (did you read this terrifying article about the insect apocalypse?) Then I thought, well, oftentimes a conversation with a member is the most inspiring part of my day. Members who call, who come in with questions, who apply for loans, are each telling a story. We hear of the obstacles that both they and we are powerless to overcome. Yet there is also much humor and resiliency. The odds are against us, we all know, but as one member replies when I ask how he’s doing, every day we wake up is another chance. When it got to be my turn at the meeting, I said that Brooklyn Coop members give me hope.
True Member Story: A couple of months ago a young man came to withdraw funds but his account was empty — he was out of savings. Yet he was adamant. He had the possibility to earn money during this week and, if we gave him an advance, he would repay us. Readers, this is not a thing we do. Brooklyn Coop doesn’t have overdraft services and there was categorically no way we would advance funds on faith. We have to be good stewards of the community assets with which we are entrusted. Staff members cannot venture down the slippery slope of trusting some and not trusting others.
Yet the young man continued. He would repay, he had been a member for a while, he keeps his promises, he really just needs $30 for transportation to New Jersey which is where he needed to be for that work he was expecting. In listening to his story, I decided to give him the $30 out of my personal account. There really was no way Brooklyn Coop would send his account negative for this reason, but I did recognize him and I felt his desperation. If he never came back, it was an amount I was prepared to lose.
This Tuesday, he came back. He gave me $30 in my hand and thanked me. I thanked him too for coming back. And we wished each other a Merry Christmas!
Samira Rajan is the longest-serving employee of Brooklyn Coop and currently the Director of both the credit union and Grow Brooklyn. She started here as an Americorp*VISTA for a single year of service back when we were Bushwick Coop in 2001, got hooked by the challenge of building a community financial institution, and hasn’t left.