The Association for Black Economic Power (ABEP) believes the establishment of a credit union on the Northside of Minneapolis is a branch of activism and a means of community protection. Credit unions are essentially cooperative banks: They are owned by community members who use the services rather than by a small group of investors on Wall Street.
Village Trust Financial Cooperative aims to provide alternatives to the historically exploitative and predatory lending environment on the Northside, while also providing a variety of services designed to serve its members, and an inclusive, welcoming atmosphere. Credit union members will be able to apply for a number of financing options, including an alternative to payday loans, savings accounts and community-based investment opportunities.
Village Trust will be offering small-dollar-amount consumer loans and working capital cooperative loans this summer and will officially open Village Trust Financial Cooperative in 2019.
Philando Castile Connection
In the wake of the 2016 police killing of Philando Castile, concerned Twin Cities residents formed a community organization named Blexit. Blexit has a mutually beneficial relationship with the Association for Black Economic Power (ABEP). Blexit plays the role of the incubator where community ideas are formed and shared. ABEP’s specialty is taking the concept and shaping it into an action plan. In the beginning, Blexit members prioritized organized boycotting campaigns to promote economic social justice. These campaigns led to a bigger effort, now being led by the ABEP’s executive committee, to open a Black-led credit union in North Minneapolis called Village Trust Financial Cooperative (VTFC).
The road to establish a state-chartered Black-led credit union is long, and there are ways Seward Co-op owners and shoppers can support this community effort! Village Trust has created a pledge intended to build membership and generate widespread support. Pledge to transfer your money to the credit union once it’s open, and pledge to divest from financial institutions with racist systems in solidarity. Anyone who lives, works or worships in Hennepin or Ramsey counties will be able to become a member of the credit union. Learn more at www.abepmn.org.