Building on Dr. King’s Legacy with the Urban Upbound Federal Credit Union

In 10 days we will celebrate the birth of one of the most influential civil rights leaders in our history, Martin Luther King, Jr., and honor his achievements on MLK Day. Dr. King’s fight against racial inequality brought the end of segregation and opened the doors to opportunities that had long been closed to the black community. Building on his legacy, Urban Upbound is fighting against the persistent inequality between Black and white American families. The Urban Upbound Federal Credit Union (UUFCU) opens access to financial services, which historically had been limited for Black communities.

Established in 2010, the UUFCU has been helping the community in northwestern Queens area build wealth through a wide range of financial services. Now, people who use any of Urban Upbound’s services in any of our sites can open an account with no membership fee, no minimum balance requirement on their checking account, and access to over 30,000 free ATMs that they can find on our mobile app. With the recent launch of the app, members now can deposit their checks online, flexibly lock or unlock their cards, pay their bills, and apply for loans from their phones.

By offering ownership stakes for members, the UUFCU keep the neighborhood’s assets locally owned and controlled. Unlike regular banks, the credit union prioritizes our member-owners’ needs over profit and gives higher rates on savings accounts. We also offer credit builder loans to help our members build or rebuild their credit. The existence of the credit union in the community means access to capital and asset building.

This year, we are even more focused on growth with the hiring of our new director of operations, Marlon Elliott. Since joining the UUFCU, Marlon has already made significant changes in the way we reach out to the community surrounding us. Knowing the community’s unfamiliarity with credit unions, he focuses on knowledge sharing and education on the difference between a credit union and a commercial bank and how a credit union benefits them. In addition to the launch of the mobile app, more financial products are also in the works, including auto loans and student credit cards.

At Urban Upbound, we carry Dr. King’s spirit in our mission and through all our programs. Visit UUFCU.org to learn more about the services that the UUFCU offers or go to this page to open an account online. To receive updates, follow us on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter, or subscribe to our newsletter. If you’d like to help us reach and serve more New Yorkers please consider making a donation.

A collection of stories around NYC’s public housing communities curated by Urban Upbound, a non-profit organization with a mission to break cycles of poverty.