Financial institution opens

Published 12:00 am Sunday, December 16, 2007

First Kingdom Community Federal Credit Union holds ribbon cutting

By Coy O&8217;Neal

The Selma Times-Journal

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Selma&8217;s first African American-owned community full-service financial institution in exactly 100 years, celebrated its grand opening at 10 a.m. Saturday.

The ribbon cutting ceremony for the First Kingdom Community Federal Credit Union, a franchise that was five years in the making, was held at Ellwood Community Church. More than 200 people turned out for the event, including members of local and regional religious communities, as well as city, county, and state officials.

Gary L. Crum Sr., pastor of Ellwood Community Church, formulated the idea for the credit union. Crum, who now serves as volunteer president and chairman of the board, said he saw people who were in need of financial services in his congregation and in the community, and started researching for answers.

Crum&8217;s research led him to credit unions, which are community-based and community developed financial institutions.

Crum, along 11 members of the union&8217;s executive board, worked to receive a charter for the credit union, with the help of a volunteer consultant who had experience with chartering credit unions.

The union was chartered Oct. 4 of this year, and is endorsed by the National Credit Union Administration, meaning that all deposits up to $100,000 made at the credit union are insured by the U.S. government.

The First Kingdom Community Federal Union is the only financial institution in Selma and Dallas County to receive a low-income designation by the NCUA, meaning that the union will be able to make secondary capital loans, and work with other non-profit institutions who wish to make deposits with the union, Crum said.

The membership fee is a deposit of $25. As with all credit unions, all members are shareholders of the institution. Crum said anyone who works and lives in Selma or Dallas County is eligible

to join, not just members of local churches.

Crum said several local banks are expressed their support in the venture, as the credit union will serve people whose needs are not necessarily met through for-profit bank services. Meeting those needs will benefit the entire community, Crum said.

The union will emphasize entrepreneurship and financial literacy.

The last African American-owned financial institution in Selma was the Penny Savings Bank, which opened in Selma in 1907, Crum said.